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

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