Reflect on #NASSP15 (and 5 Reasons to Plan Now for Ignite ’16)

Ignite ’16—Are you ready? February 2016 in Orlando, FL, might seem like a much-too-distant vision. But now is a good time to reflect on the experiences of Ignite ’15 to get the financial or professional support you need to assure your place at NASSP’s annual national conference, a no-regrets investment in the future of your students and your school.

Whether you were there in person or in spirit, Ignite ’15 offers some persuasive reminders about why you should make Ignite ’16 a “must” on your to-do list for the 2015–2016 academic year. Check out a Storify recap of Ignite ’15 (#NASSP15) now to revisit the event that many consider a professional game-changer. Consider these five reasons to get Ignite ’16 on your radar:

  1. Connect

Many school leaders celebrate Ignite for its ability to enable them to build and reinforce that all-important professional learning network (PLN). Perhaps this attendee—the assistant superintendent for Burlington, MA, schools—summed it up best.


    1. Take charge


Before the “official” conference even started, school leaders were hard at work when NASSP became the first national association to host an Edcamp. This “unconference” brought together approximately 100 passionate and dedicated educators who—in keeping with the typical Edcamp approach—developed an agenda on the spot in 10 minutes flat, then offered sessions focusing on areas of common interest for a collaborative, interactive experience. Decidedly low tech, just a pad of Post-it® notes and a strong arm were key ingredients to get educators pumped and sharing at Edcamp.

    1. Be inspired


The Ignite conference serves many valuable purposes, but perhaps none more powerful than simply helping principals do their jobs better. Thought leaders Pedro Noguera and Michael Fullan kicked things off, kindling their share of Twitter traffic. Pedro Noguera’s assertion that “school has to include learning fr mistakes v avoiding them. That’s how kids really learn” became the second most viral message, which was tweeted by author and Hope Foundation president Alan Blankenstein. Meanwhile, Accompsett Middle School Assistant Principal Dan McCabe’s quote from Education Consultant Todd Whitaker earned the highest number of #NASSP15 retweets and favorites.

Closing speaker John Hope Bryant, author of Love Leadership: the New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World, lit up the audience with more heavily shared messages, calling education “the ultimate poverty eradication tool” and principals “the change agents in the world.”

  1. Learn

The Tech Studio became a popular meeting ground, typically hosting standing-room-only crowds, like during February 20’s #tweetorial, where attendees learned the ins and outs of Twitter. That knowledge was immediately put to use, causing the conference hashtag #NASSP15 to go viral.

Other Tech Studio topics included “Reaching Parents with Social Media,” “Build Your Own Tech-Powered PD,” and “Makerspace.”

    1. Advocate


All principals should be concerned about how they are supported as school leaders. Under the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), “…of the 44 percent of funds used for professional development, a meager 4 percent was dedicated to principal development.” NASSP has joined forces with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators to encourage Congress to require 10 percent of Title II funds be earmarked for principal PD. Ignite became a forum to tweet legislators and remind them to support principal professional development. Attendees could visit the NASSP Connection Center and hold a poster with messages like “25% of student achievement results from my leadership” and “Investing in the principal = investing in student success.”

It’s Time

What are you waiting for? Register for Ignite ’16 now and take advantage of early-bird pricing—you’ll save $100 if you register by June 30. And 10 months from now, you’ll find yourself reflecting on the event just like this East Leyden, IL, principal:

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