If you were to glance at my bookshelf, one thing may stand out to you. On the spines of almost every book on my shelf you will find that the majority of the titles are published by one organization, ASCD.
This would not have been the case a few years ago. Sure, I had a handful of Understanding by Design books, but most of my books were not ASCD titles. Today, there is a definite trend happening on my shelf and it’s all because of my exposure to and participation in ASCD.
Yesterday I arrived in Boston for ASCD’s Empower 18. In 2016, my conference experience was all about connecting with educational rock stars that have influenced my practice: Jay McTighe, Pete Hall, Todd Whitaker, Carol Ann Tomlinson. In 2107, it was all about connecting with the educational rock stars that are part of the ASCD Emerging Leader cohort. In other words, the future educational rock stars for young educators, the future authors of the books on my shelf from ASCD. This year is all about empowering those around me to lead and learn better than they thought possible.
So, my conference intentions will be very similar to the ones I had at the National Association of Independent Schools conference a few weeks ago:
- How can I encourage and initiate grassroots change through teacher leadership, including harnessing teacher voices to propel real and innovative change?
- How can I enhance professional learning and expand professional growth opportunities for the educators I work with?
- How can I promote authentic learning and global competence for students with creative curriculum design and delivery?
I am adding a few learning intentions from my professional growth goals this year. I work in essential questions. SMART goals are great. But, I like to ground them in inquiry because as Dan Rothstein from the Right Question Institute (RQI) notes, questions “shine a light on where you need to go.” At my school, we use Folio Collaborative as a tool for self-reflection and growth conversations. Early in the year I wrote these two essential questions as my goals for the year.
- How might professional development impact and/or define great teaching and learning?
- How can we ensure our curriculum and assessment is grounded in 21st Century skills and best practices?
I am going to come back to all of these questions this weekend. I have combed through the program guide, choosing sessions that align with my needs and my school’s needs. Most of the sessions I have tentatively chosen to attend focus on transformational leadership, strategic initiatives (a big one for my school recently), innovative teaching and learning, and digital citizenship.
This weekend I will be leading by learning and shining a light on where I need to go as a leader. I may be brain dead on Monday, as is usually the case after a conference for me. But, I also hope to be inspired and ready to ignite change.