Ignite 15 Conference

Edcamp Breaks New Ground for NASSP and Educator Connectedness

Billed as an event that would involve “talking, sharing, and innovating about changing the way the world learns,” NASSP’s first-ever Edcamp preceded its annual national conference, Ignite ’15, in San Diego.

Free and open to anyone, this “unconference” on February 19 brought together more than 100 educators to create their own agenda on the spot, and then meet. Attendees did not need to be registered for the NASSP conference in order to attend Edcamp, according to one of its organizers, Jimmy Casas, principal of Betterndorf High School in Bettendorf, IA.

The Edcamp concept is a phenomenon that is gaining traction nationwide. As described on the Edcamp Foundation’s website: “Unlike traditional conferences which have schedules set months in advance by the people running the conference, Edcamp (more…)

How School “Brand” Determines Student Outcomes

Guest post by Baruti K. Kafele, an award-winning educator, internationally renowned speaker, and best-selling author, who will lead two sessions at Ignite ’15, February 19–21.

The brand of any school tells a story. It reveals to everyone—students, staff, parents, and the community—who you are as a school. Your school’s brand can be defined intentionally, or it can evolve organically; but a brand that evolves organically may not be the one you most desire. Your school’s brand matters—it determines student outcomes.

Here’s a brief illustration that I share in discussions with educators about school brand: There’s a popular Southern-based restaurant chain, and whenever I enter these restaurants, a very unique experience consistently occurs. Someone behind the counter yells out, “Welcome to [our restaurant]!” The consistency of their greeting speaks volumes about their brand. (more…)

Ignite ’15: Know Before You Go

The materials are printed and shipped. The speakers are polishing their remarks. And you—you’re ready to pack your bags for Ignite ’15!

But before you get out that suitcase, here are a few key details to note and things to gear up for:

Name badges will not be mailed in advance
If you haven’t already, you will receive a confirmation email prior to the conference. Bring this email to registration, which is located inside Halls F & G of the San Diego Convention Center. The bar code in your confirmation email will be needed to print your name badge and collect your conference bag at the new “Scan and Go” Stations. You may print your confirmation email or scan the bar code directly from your smartphone or tablet. If you don’t have your barcode email, you can simply enter your last name into the “Scan and Go” station. (more…)

It’s Not Too Late—Get Ready to Meet these Members Making a Difference

Are you looking to connect with fellow NASSP members who found significant value from their membership? Ignite ’15 offers a perfect venue. Ahead of the conference—which starts Thursday, February 19—get acquainted with some of these participating members and make plans to meet.

You say you’re not registered for Ignite ’15, but have a last-minute craving for a no-regrets opportunity to network and grow professionally? No worries. You can register on-site! Alternatively, consider purchasing access to the live streaming portal if you or your team are unable to be there in person.

When you become familiar with these members’ stories you’ll discover more about the NASSP advantages that are making a difference in schools and with students nationwide: (more…)

Empowering Leaders: Just Do It

Guest post by Aimee Rainey, principal, Florence Middle School, Florence, AL, who will present “Empowering Teachers: Developing Talent and Growing Leaders in Your Building” at Ignite ’15.

How do you empower teacher leaders in a school and let go of micromanagement tendencies? Consider one simple phrase: “Just do it!”

This may be an oversimplification, but it can be very powerful when implemented strategically. Empowerment of others produces ownership where micromanagement can harm the organization. It is essential to activate motivation in others. At the heart of motivation lies the desire for freedom to express one’s creative potential. (more…)

If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Today’s Principalship

Guest post by Frederick Brown, director of strategy and development for Learning Forward, and a former senior program officer for the Wallace Foundation

It has been almost 20 years since I began my principalship, and it’s incredible to me how much has changed in what we expect from our school leaders.

I was trained as a building manager, and my success was often measured by keeping operations and procedures running smoothly. Someone once told me, “Just make sure your school isn’t on the front page of the newspaper because of something negative, and you’ll be seen as a good principal.” Yes, I was expected to know instruction and support teachers, but my main work was focused on things like budgets and making sure the central office received their completed reports on time. Indeed, so much has changed! (more…)

Don’t Think Outside the Box—Make a New Box

Guest post by Janice Case, a consultant, certified trainer, and educator with more than 20 years’ experience in public and private school education.

For school leaders and counselors, implementing the Common Core State Standards is not about thinking outside the box. It is about transforming the box itself (NASSP, NAESP, College Summit, Achieve, 2013). Now, more than ever, we’re charged with ensuring that all students are college and career ready when they graduate from high school. So what does it take, exactly, to create a graduating class that is 100 percent college and career ready? The answer: implementing a college-going culture. (more…)

What Connected Educators Do Differently

Guest post by Jimmy Casas, principal, Bettendorf High School in Bettendorf, IA, and Jeff Zoul, assistant superintendent for Teaching and Learning with Deerfield Public Schools District 109 in Deerfield, IL.

The jubilation that she had felt during the welcome-back-to-school week had worn off. Gone was the energy of connecting with new faces, interacting with her peers, and preparing for the arrival of students who were eager to get back to school after a long summer. She was now alone, in her classroom, removed from the rest of her peers. She was feeling isolated, less effective, and thirsting for some adult personal and professional interaction. (more…)

A Leader’s Resolution: Professional Fitness in the New Year

Guest post by Jared Wastler, assistant principal, Liberty High School, Eldersburg, MD

It is that time of year again­—time to set resolutions for the New Year. Eating healthier? Using technology less? Exercising more? Those are the popular ones. However, this year I challenge you to consider a different type of resolution. My challenge to each and every one of you is to resolve to become more professionally fit.

Professional fitness does not refer to how many stairs you can climb throughout your building during the day or the number of steps you take during bus and lunch duty. Instead, professional fitness refers to your aptitude as a continual learner. Ignite ’15 Thought Leader Michael Fullan uses a key term in his book The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact: lead learner. (more…)

Student Voice: Beyond the School Walls

Guest post by Archie Weindruch and James Gomez, seniors, Bettendorf High School, Bettendorf, IA. Archie and James are active in Raising Student Voice and Participation, an NASSP student program.

Over the past four years at Bettendorf High School, we have seen the importance of student voice and student leadership within schools and communities. We have seen the student body bring forth refreshing and new ideas for our school, and we have seen these ideas come to fruition right before our eyes. This is one of the most exciting parts about the organization that we have here at Bettendorf High School called RSVP, or Raising Student Voice and Participation. (more…)