My new Superintendent, Dr. Gail Kist Kline, opened up one of the most amazing conferences around, the Mason Learning Series, with this phrase “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Since that morning, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. The Mason Learning Series conference could be attended by anyone and the reach extended as far as Haiti. Our attendance peaked at over 900 participants. Only days before, High AIMS, an organization created to connect schools in the area offered another incredible conference called the High AIMS Summer Institute. In 2017, districts around the nation are opening up their doors, practices, and artifacts to anyone who can benefit from them. Bob Dylan said it best, “The times they are a changin” and how lucky we are to be part of this change.
For this post, let’s stick to the conferences and their value. Why would anyone take time away from their much-coveted summer break to attend a conference? Let’s see…to collaborate, learn, get inspired, share, question, build your personal brand, teach, invigorate, understand, network…network…network. People left both conferences completely pumped up for 2017-2018. At High AIMS, Doug Reeves, author, and founder of Creative Leadership Solutions and Brian DeLuca from the University of Dayton and Executive Director of the Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation (IACT) pumped ccs of adrenaline into listeners as they readied themselves to listen to fellow educators share their practices. If that wasn’t enough to get you pumped, the tipping point had to be George Couros at the Mason Learning Series. George, a brilliant speaker, took listeners on a journey ranging from tears (borderline bawling) to rolling in the aisles laughter. All three speakers helped us look at our world differently, to rethink how we work, collaborate, teach, and lead.
“A rising tide lifts all boats.”
If you’ve ever thought, “I don’t have time to attend that conference” which I’ve been guilty of – make time! Take the time to invest in YOU, your students, team, building, and district. Everything else can wait, and the work will be eagerly awaiting your return, but your lens could be forever changed by making time. Your contribution matters and your energy, contagious. Catch the bug, spread the knowledge an inspiration as a rising tide does truly lift all boats.
Enjoy some takeaways from High AIMS and the Mason Learning Series below:
Two incredible Mason City Schools (MCS) students, current sophomore Maanasa Mendu (on Forbes 30 Under 30 list) and former MCS student Peeyush Shrivastava, founder of Genetesis, helped participants realize the greatness that lies within our students.
A dear friend of mine, Meghan Lawson, inspired us with her TedTalk titled Creating Magic in Our Work: