As I sit here in the San Francisco airport after my flight was cancelled (I got on a later flight though) I cannot help but reflect on my first ASCD Annual Conference. What an incredible experience! The excitement began back in the late summer when I was notified that my proposal to present was accepted. The title of my session was Exploring Best Practices in Social Networking. I absolutely love to share what we are doing at New Milford High School through the lens that social media provides. Things got even better when I learned that I would be participating in the 2011 ASCD Conference Scholars Program. As part of this program I was able to share my insight on change in education, which was published on the ASCD Inservice blog as well as ASCD Express. The program also allowed our cohort to connect virtually on two occasions and discuss leadership through a series of blog posts.
The lead-up to the conference created a great deal of anxiety as I couldn't wait to connect and learn from some of the best educators in the world. Once the conference began I hit the floor running. I attended multiple sessions on the classroom walk-through process as I am not only part of a PLC investigating this back at my school, but have also been conducting walks throughout the school year. The sessions reinforced what my administrative team and I have been doing thus far and provided me with many strategies to further engage my staff in reflective discussions focusing on the data collected. Other sessions I attended investigated the need for integrating technology to better prepare our students to compete globally and ways to improve schools.
Probably one of the most important aspects of the 2011 ASCD Conference were the engaging conversations that I had with colleagues from all over the world. Whether it was sharing innovations taking place at NMHS such as The Academies@ New Milford HS
, having a quick conversation with Robert Marzano, or learning about successful strategies being used to radically transform other schools, I came away with more knowledge to improve my school. The conversations that I had with my fellow ASCD Conference Scholars were inspiring and thought-provoking. I leave the 2011 ASCD Conference with an expanded network of passionate educators to learn from, new ideas on how to improve my school, and reinforcement that NMHS is moving in the right direction.
How was your ASCD Conference experience? What were your takeaways?