Personal Learning Network

How Ignite Has Enriched My Career

Being a principal, at any level, requires a diverse array of skills to ensure effective strategies are in place to meet the unique needs of all our students. Gathering this knowledge and these new strategies requires outstanding principals to learn from a variety of resources; we must maximize every opportunity we have to improve and develop our professional practices.

Two excellent sources of principal professional development are conference learning and peer networking. NASSP’s Ignite conference offers both of these sources at high levels in a jam-packed three days of professional learning.

First, Ignite is the only national conference focused solely on secondary level principals and the unique challenges we face. Ignite presents the highest level of recognized experts on a dynamic range of topics to enhance your learning. (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…)

3 Reasons to Register for Ignite ’15 Today

When you attend Ignite ’15, you will get to learn from some of the education community’s most dynamic leaders who are ready to share knowledge and proven solutions to some of your most pressing challenges.

Here are three reasons to register today:

  1. Cultivate your personal learning network (PLN)
    Have you ever wanted to put a name with a face? Chances are you have built your PLN through technology and social media, like Twitter. (more…)

All I can say is: Wow!

Guest post by Brad Currie:

The NASSP Ignite ’13 Conference was an unbelievable opportunity for lead learners from around the world to come together in one place with the sole purpose of improving our craft. Never in my life did I make so many connections with innovating, like-minded educators who truly cared about seeing kids succeed.

Twitter played a powerful role leading up to, during, and after the actual conference. I think I am speaking for many who attended when I say this was the first time that I went into a conference knowing many of the people who were going. This was made possible by the connections I had made on Twitter since the fall of 2011. The sessions and keynotes were excellent and allowed participants to really think about the innovative impact they could have on their schools.

The learning sessions were absolutely amazing. Being able to interact with and learn from people such as Todd Whitaker, Eric Sheninger, Jimmy Casas, Daisy Dyer Duerr, Carrie Jackson, and Leslie Esneault was truly amazing. The streaming live #Satchat discussion on “Igniting Your Passion as a School Leader” was an experience I will never forget. Kudos to the NASSP Ignite ’13 organizing team for putting on a great conference and leveraging the power of social media to engage participants near and far. In case you missed out on all the great things shared via the #nassp13 hashtag, here is the link.

The keynote from Scott Klososky was tremendous and gave everyone much for food for thought, especially about how Google Glass will transform education. Seeing Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in person was a special treat. Thanks to Carrie Jackson, one of three NASSP Digital Principals of the Year, I was able to ask him a question via Twitter.

I was truly honored to connect with like-minded educators such as 2013 National Middle School Principal of the Year Laurie Barron and 2013 National High School Principal of the Year Trevor Greene.

I am definitely a better lead learner thanks to all of the experiences I was exposed to during the NASSP Ignite ’13 Conference. My extended PLN family has influenced me for the better and will enable me to do bigger and better things in months and years to come.

Originally posted on March 2, 2013 from Brad Currie’s blog, Engaged and Relevant, after he attended Ignite 2013.

Brad Currie (@bcurrie5) is Vice Principal at Black River Middle School in Chester, New Jersey and co-founder and co-moderator of #Satchat, a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders.

The Power of a Chosen PLN

Guest post by Laurie Barron:

Why do I need Twitter? I certainly don’t care about when Lindsay Lohan is back in court, Justin Bieber is in trouble with the paparazzi, or Miley Cyrus is twerking (whatever that may mean). And what is a hashtag? It just didn’t sound like something that was appropriate to be talking about in conjunction with my professional learning.

Imagine my delight upon realizing that I could use Twitter to choose to learn from those I do care about hearing from and use hashtags to follow topics I find professionally rewarding!

I admit it: Twitter was slow to grow on me. I also admit that I now can’t believe how much I have grown as a professional as a result of learning from a customized professional learning network that occurs when and where I want it. (And, if I get bored, I can leave without worrying about that awkward moment that seems so disrespectful when people walk out of a presentation.)

Through my professional learning network on Twitter, I have learned from some of the most effective educational leaders from across the country: leaders who have defied the odds; leaders who have done what many say is not possible; leaders who believe in students whom, unfortunately, many have given up on; leaders who realize that, while students may come from a home that struggles economically, this economic disadvantage does not define a student; leaders who understand that our job as educators is not to judge students for their status in life but instead to ensure that status isn’t an impediment to their education. I have been amazed by people who have challenged me to grow, learn, and stretch myself, all as a result of sharing knowledge with educators from across the nation, most of whom I’ve never even met.

And so, no matter which day of the week you may be reading this, I offer a longer-than-normal #FF for some of those who probably have no idea the impact they have had on my career, Twitter friends and colleagues such as @TrevorLTGreene, @casas_jimmy, @NASSP, @MarkWilsonGA, @SlatonJessica, @NMHS_Principal, @patrickmlarkin, @RickWormeli, @ToddWhitaker, @dpk933, @bcurrie5, @Joe_Mazza, @mwdegner, @BUCSlead, @Jennifer_Hogan, @jackson_carrie, @charlesdumais, @DaisyDyerDuerr, @DruTomlin_AMLE, @blocht574, @d_mulder, and @aschmuhl.

Through the incredible world of Twitter, I have found myself surrounded by people who inspire me, people who help me build relationships, people who have similar goals and aspirations. I am certainly looking forward to NASSP Ignite ’14 to learn with my Twitter PLN in person!

New to Twitter? Jump start your engagement and build your professional learning network by attending the Tweetorial Friday morning, February 7 to start your Ignite ’14 experience. You can also check out this simple guide for educators on Tweeting.

Laurie Barron (@LaurieBarron) is the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year. She will present at the Ignite 2014. For more information and to register visit www.nasspconference.org.

How can you afford not to?

Guest post by Sheila Harrity:

I have attended the NASSP Conference every year since becoming principal. Some people ask, “How can I afford to go?” I say, “How can you afford not to?”

Attending the NASSP Conference: Ignite, has provided me the opportunity to meet outstanding leaders and hear best practices from colleagues who are doing remarkable work in schools across the country and around the world.

Ignite allows me to tailor my professional development based on my school’s needs. At last year’s conference I attended several personalized learning sessions in search of ideas to address our school’s graduation rate. As a result of the information I brought back, we implemented a graduation promise banner that every freshmen student signs as an agreement to graduate in four years. The banner hangs in our cafeteria as a constant reminder to students of the commitment they made. In addition, we take pictures of every freshman student in a cap and gown. Students hang their picture in their lockers as a reminder of their goal to graduate from high school.

This is just one idea of many that I gained from my peers last year at Ignite ’13. Every year I return from this conference with a list of ideas and things to do to improve the school and community. Worcester Technical High School has continued to grow and prosper because of what I have learned at the NASSP Conference: Ignite. I look forward to attending every year, and am excited to meet colleagues and share ideas in Dallas!

Sheila Harrity (@SheilaHarrity) is the 2014 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year. She will present at the Reaching All Students Through Career and Technical Education on February 7, 2014 at the Ignite 2014. For more information and to register visit www.nasspconference.org.