#naisac15 “before”

design the revolution

I’m headed to Boston on Wednesday to attend the annual National Association of Independent Schools conference. I have packed my best gore-tex boots and an extra scarf. Who thought it was a good idea to go to Boston at the end of February? Just kidding, I’m really excited for another year of learning. I’ve attended NAIS in Seattle and Philadelphia as well as POCC here in DC last year. As usual, it is jammed packed with sessions and speakers that pique my interest. Also, this year, I am a member of the Teacher of the Future cohort, so I’m looking forward to seeing my other TOF peeps and hosting a live-chat from the conference.

As someone who is super-active in the edcamp movement, a traditional conference poses a challenge. There are so many things I want to see and do and much of it overlaps. So I can use the law of two feet and get the most of my own learning or I can be polite and stay put. I think we all know which choice I’m going to make. Here is what is sparking my curiosity for this year:


First Session:

  • A Matter of Trust: Manifestations of Trust for School Leaders (Perfect for someone starting a new admin role, don’t you think?)
  • Leading Online and Offline: Blending Practice for Advancing Leadership Goals
  • Creative Capacity: Design Thinking, Curriculum, and Networks

Second Session:

  • Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (This is with Michael Horn. The TOF class has read his new book, Blended.)
  • Design Thinking for Change: Creating Global Student Leaders
  • Revolutionary Changes to Faculty Growth, Compensation, and Evaluation (This stars my edu-friend, Anthony McGrann, a TOF’er and genius.)
  • Diving into Design Thinking: the NAIS Conference as a Laboratory Experience (This is being led by the team from Leadership + Design including my edu-friend Greg Bamford.)

Third Session:

  • Creating Culture: The Evolution of Independent School Leadership
  • Education Rethink 2020: Are You There Yet? (I love rethinking education and envisioning a future.)
  • Team Diversity: Creating Institutional Change Through a Diversity Team (This session has my heart. I believe that our diversity makes us stronger.)
  • Balancing Tradition and Innovation: The Case for a new Model in Global Programs


First Session:

  • Rethink and Redesign 21st Century Summer Learning (How are we harnessing the power of technology and creativity to really use our summers to learn and grow?)
  • Globally Relevant and Culturally Responsive Classrooms: A Design Thinking Model (This will look at the Nobis Global Action Model. I am unfamiliar with these projects but social justice + design thinking = win.)


  • Design Thinking for Identity-Safe Classrooms: Building Empathy and Diverse Book Collections
  • Success by Design: Navigating the Division Head Role  (This seems like a right choice.)
  • Immersive Professional Development: Rethinking Learning Experiences for Educators

I also get to drop by the Klingenstein reception on Thursday to visit old friends and share a great meal with my TOF friends on Friday. This is a great time to re-connect with colleagues near and far. Saturday will put the icing on the cake with an extended half-day version of edcampIS at Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols school. (Hopefully a stop at the COOP can be snuck in somewhere.)

Follow all of our learning shenanigans this week!! #naisac15 and #edcampis Are you headed to Boston for NAIS this week? Let’s tweet up!


It has been a great two days so far not being at ISTE. I was lamenting missing out on this year’s ISTE Conference in San Antonio. As I saw the instagram pics and twitter feeds start to light up with tales from the Alamo and the River Walk, I started to sigh. Then came the giddy-filled stories of holding one’s very own, brand new, FREE, Microsoft Surface. Oh my heart started to fill with woe.

But then I found the #notatISTE/#notatISTE13 hashtag on Twitter and Google+. Suddenly, my world was filled with fellow commiserators who, like me, were at home as the ed tech world descended into Texas sucking up wifi faster than you can say “access point”. My social media universe became filled with tweets, videos, and even a meme or two expressing all the cool things people are up to while others are learning and growing in a conference center. Things like hiking, camping, playing with one’s kids, sitting by the pool, drinking home brewed coffee and reading a book. All things I truly enjoy. (As for me, I went to work for 3/4 of the day, started a new book, and spent QT with my sweet doggie.) There have even been jokes about pretending to be at ISTE and making people confused when they can’t actually find you.

All of this social media mayhem reminds me very clearly that while there are some amazing things happening in San Antonio and that the face to face interaction is so important, we don’t NEED to be at ISTE to connect. We are lucky that through our feeds and aggregators, we can experience a lot of the learning happening. Is it the same, no, but is it better than nothing? Yes.

We also need to have times where we step away from the PLN and disconnect. Spend time with our families without the iPhone. Eat a lovely meal without instagramming it. Take a walk in the woods without recording the elevation and mileage with a gps. This is the route that many of my colleagues on the #notatiste13 feeds are going and I applaud them. We cannot be our best teachers, administrators, coaches, innovators, and learners in chief without taking time to recharge and unplug. So why I am sad I’m going to miss Adam Bellow‘s 100+ slides during his keynote and I’ll miss meeting PLN friends in person, I’m glad to take this time for light hearted connections to my pals who are #notatiste13 and re-charge. 

How are you recharging this summer? Are you able to completely unplug? Are you at ISTE13? If so, what am I missing-seriously, torture me!

Conference Choices

This Friday I will be attending the NAIS annual conference in National Harbor, MD. I am very excited about this conference as there are more sessions that interest me than I could possibly attend in one day. (Friday is the special “teacher day” where teachers are allowed to attend for a reduced rate. This is such a blessing as it is an expensive conference and it is coming from my own funds.) I’m not even allowing myself to look at the Wednesday and Thursday sessions because I know there are so many things I’m missing out on by just attending on Friday.

I am writing out my schedule plan for Friday today so that my Type A-ness can be in the right place at the right time. Oh, but what to choose!!?? For example, at 8am on Friday there are sessions on Arts vs. Athletics, Anxiety in Adolescent Girls, Women in Leadership, Global Learning, and Scheduling and Time. All of these are applicable to my current and future job positions and all sound interesting. What a nice dilemma to have; so many choices that it makes it difficult to choose.

I am particularly excited about seeing/hearing Geoffrey Canada speak at the end of the day on Friday. His work in the Harlem Children’s Zone is admirable and inspiring. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say to the independent school community.

No matter what I attend, I’m glad that I have this opportunity to learn and network with a large contingent of the independent school community. I have attended many a local conference and workshop but this is my first national conference since OPERA America in 2003. I hope to see a Klinger or two from KSI Class of 2008. I also look forward to spending part of the day at the C,S,&A LINK conference to make connections with schools from around the country and world.

I plan to blog or tweet as much as I can from the conference. Let’s hope the wifi signal is good! If you are attending, send me a tweet and we can meet up!