So Why did we all come to the NAIS 2017 Conference?
Well I am not sure, it is my first time...my Dean of Faculty said, do you want to go and I said sure! We all have different reasons of course, and I am just figuring this out. I enjoy being with my fabulous colleagues, and I have to say the Keynotes truly caught my eye. Susan Cain and Brene Brown - it does not get better than that! But as I reflect on my three sessions today this is why I came:
- To follow my passions - “Greening your Mission,” High-Impact Environmental Strategic Planning. I am blessed to have an office that looks over the blue ridge mountains, where I I watch the perfect sunset at least a few times a week. We have an incredible Outdoor Classroom where I spend a period of time most Thursdays with our precious 4 and 5 year olds. From trash free days, to decomposing experiments, to tree identification -- fun is always to be had. But, how do we as a school tie all these adventures into a cohesive story (AND at the same time feed my own passion.) Well, Greening the Mission gave me some great ideas and joining the Environmental Leadership course for Independent School Leaders will certainly help me implement the ideas!
- To get some tips during tough times - “Difficult Decisions” came at a perfect time. How often do we actually sit down at the end of the day or week and jot down all the key decisions we have made? Think about the process of making them, what worked, what did not, predict any possible fallout or surprising reactions? Besides being surrounded by some courageous educators who shared some valuable experiences, this session reminded me that we all care deeply about the people behind our decisions; we are all human and make both excellent decisions as well as those that can go wrong from time to time. Reassurance - we come to be reassured that we are on the right track, but look to add some tools to our tool box.
- To look for reassurance that social emotional learning is the foundation to academic and personal growth - this I achieved in the session Develop Implement and Assess your School’s SEL Program . I have always believed that SEL is the gateway toward academic success, but there are bumps along the road when you do not get that buy in and understanding from key stakeholders. This session reminded me that I need to refer to the research that shows that schools with solid SEL programs show higher rates of academic success; it also gave me some great additional resources like http://www.casel.org/
So in reality maybe we don’t always go to conferences for one particular reason in mind. It also depends on what you need at that given moment. Sometimes I am in search of ideas and in hopes of mixing those creative juices that lead to spontaneous innovative ideas; sometimes you need reassurance that what you are doing, indeed is moving in a logical direction, and sometimes you want to sniff around in your passion areas to add some joy to a tough year and discover ways to move forward in a way that supports your own values! So far so good - #nais2017 has yet to disappoint!
And why did you come to #naisac?