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Conferences & Workshops

November 2021

 

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Conference Updates

I have spent the past week learning and having academic discourse with various thought and industry leaders. I was fortunate enough to work with Rex Miller and 26 superintendents from across the nation mid-week. It was a great experience with a multitude of takeaways from practical to esoteric discourse. 

The learnings were refreshing, focusing on the superintendent's work I am confronted with, which is more often than not solo work even in the best of circumstances. However, in pandemic times, it's exacerbated the leaders nationwide in education. Some of the work I did was re-emphasizing the movement from the 19th-century education model to 21st-century learning- and that we need to not wait for the "new normal" or go back to what it was because we are living and creating our new realities. As overwhelming as that is, it is also exciting to rebuild public education systems to meet the needs of our current learners and communities versus the needs of learners from 10, 20, and even 100 years ago. 

SELF DISCOVERY

Self-discovery falls under the new buzzword in the education community self-care. The first step in the journey to self-discovery is to be responsible. Just like we expect our students to be accountable, we need to be responsible for our words, actions, and behaviors as adults. Being responsible is not being at fault. Being responsible is being accountable for things within your control.  All adults must be aware that to embrace self-care, you have first to empower yourself to take responsibility for your actions by acknowledging your role in any situation to move forward and learn. Fault is the cause of the failure. For example, your significant other decided they would make you a special lunch to take to work but forgot to pack it in your work bag. The fault lies in them failing to pack your lunch, but the responsibility is in how you will react and figure out how you are going to get lunch. Being responsible is taking ownership of our thoughts, behaviors, and results. As the adults in the school, our ownership of our emotions and behaviors, directly and indirectly, impacts our students and work environment. 

The idea of self-discovery goes back to my 100 Day Reflection, Goal 1: To unify the individual, school, family, and community with a universal philosophy and a common language. The philosophy of ownership, development of Positive Behavior Interventions, and implementing a universal core curriculum allow adults and students to have the space to develop responsibility and lean into self-discovery to help with emotional regulation.

Unfinished Learning

Ever present is the work of unfinished learning and how to address that within the school systems. These conversations aligned with my Goal 3: To instill consistent principles so students can work in their own cognitive, affective and behavioral learning domains. Self-discovery, creativity, and innovation fall under this category. Not only are educators working within inherited school structures and culture this school year, we are also working through a global pandemic and being asked to reconstruct our professional identities as we all move forward. Administrators and teachers went from being community heroes to being negatively yelled and screamed at by neighbors calling them on the best days “sheep," “lazy,” to being physically and personally attacked about mandates and laws beyond their control. The pandemic for many integrated the educators personal and professional lives more than another professional. I know from teaching social science last year, my middle schoolers experienced my many pets, adult children accidentally disrupting my teaching, and even experienced sitting in my backyard with me— these experiences blurred and complicated the professional landscape in which I worked.  The student and their families were now daily guests into my home, as I was in theirs. Distractions and an integration into familiarity that is now and the untangling is messy at best.

For students and educators alike, self-reflection on past practice and planning for the future is dependent solely on pandemic experiences. Like when educators experienced contradictory values during the advent of high-stakes accountability policies such as No Child Left Behind or Every Student Succeeds Act, we moved into new roles and subjectivities in our profession. Currently education is undergoing a more passive reform model dependent on existing systems that converted the Response to Intervention model to the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support initiatives of 2012, that further raised the affect of how educators interact with colleagues, students, and communities. Like our students, educators are re-assimilating to post pandemic education leaning into our existing Multi-Tiered System of Support Model.

While at the heart of all educator’s roles, which can be truly exhausting on a normal day, professional fatigue and social media controlled narratives have exasperated the mental and physical health of educators. Unfortunately we can’t go backwards, and must move forward to connect the academic needs of individual students, the growing demand of academic output of students, and meeting students where they are at and growing them to where they can be. As in my 100 Day Reflection, Goal 2: Embrace and create innovative spaces for adult and student learning,  we now have to create a new narrative as educators, to establish a new ecosystem of support that encompasses the social, emotional, academic, and behavioral health of our student population. This is a tall order for educators and it is forcing us to change our professional identity and the way we have to address student support, teaching, and learning.

Man Thinking

How does this apply to my work at Waverly?


  • The alignment of these conversations reaffirmed we are headed in the right direction.
  • That self-care begins with adult ownership 
  • Resilient mindsets are not just for students 
  • Post pandemic education means to re-establish public school’s purpose and meaning


Conference Attended

Principal’s to Flourish Through Traumatic Seasons, AASA, 2021

Joint Annual Conference, Triple I, 2021 

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