Returned from a great week in Austin this past Friday. The Texas Elementary Principals & Supervisors Association (TEPSA) Summer Conference was the best I have attended yet. I found myself frustrated (good thing) because I was having to make tough decisions on which sessions to attend, which was a first for a TEPSA conference for me. Conferences are great in the fact that you get to see Twitter friends in complete reality! Enjoyed meeting greats like Eric Sheninger, John Wink, Mandy Vasek and Jennifer Roach and getting to see and hangout with great friends like Don Jacobs. Always highlights of conferences!
Key takeaways often came in single words. I attended a session with a Northwest ISD administrative team and they talked about the word grit and growing that trait in their students at Kay Granger elementary. They understood a key issue for their students was a "stick-to-it-iveness". They failed to persist in difficult tasks. They highlighted the importance of resilience when faced with failure. This is a skill that is explicitly taught, practiced and celebrated and has to begin with staff. If the faculty
doesn't possess the grit, they will not be able to instill it in students. They shared their grit journey, the vocabulary developed and the amazing student stories that come out of the 14/15 experience. It is amazing the things kids can do when we take a few moments each day to address some of the foundation skills necessary to be academically and life successful!
Angela Maier since early in my Twitter days and it was a complete treat to get to hear her speak and share her heart and passion for kids and educators. She shared the message of matter. It further engrained for me the importance of addressing the hierarchy of needs in school. As much as I have begun to preach branding and belonging, the psychological need to matter is vital for our students in order for them to be successful in the academic areas in which we place so much priority. If we are not intentionally investing in the helping student develop a love and belonging and self worth, why and how they matter, we are not setting them up for the academic and life success we so desperately want for them and work so hard to provide!
Was very excited about the chance to listen to Eric Sheninger. It was a session that you sit in and want to cheer along! Eric carries a banner of future ready leadership that I work hard daily to model, share and refine! It is a banner I wish more would actively seek, understand and demonstrate! As he said throughout his presentation, it's not necessarily doing anything different, but adding the right tools to the right task so that our efforts have the maximum impact in our circle of influence! The attendance in his session was a little disappointing, but that tends to happen on a final Friday morning of a conference. I hope that TEPSA has him return in a keynote role, because the message and the work to be done deserves and necessitates that platform if we want to transform our schools in a way that truly engages communities for the benefit of our students!
Great learning, great time! Every time I go to Austin, I love it more!