In the past few weeks, I’ve been getting a lot of questions as to why I attend so many conferences. Most questions are implying that since I am a Superintendent, there is no need to be, since (as one person put it) “I’m at the top”. So, please allow me to explain my rationale for conferences:
1. I pick and choose. I’m not a teacher trying to become an administrator; I’m not a rookie administrator trying to establish my name. I’m not going for recognition; I’m going because there are topics and items I want to learn about. Sure they are on some Saturdays, some are far, and some aren’t even that great, but if I don’t go, I won’t expose myself to something that could be amazing — and then my students suffer.
2. I’m always striving to be better. I have the responsibility to be better so my staff can be better and so my students can be better. Going to conferences allows me to acquire new knowledge, and also allows me to…
3. I’m meeting my followers and those I follow through Twitter, my source PLN action. There are so many wonderful people on Twitter that I have been lucky enough to learn from. Meeting them face to face and having the chance to learn even more than I did before. It’s a great chance to continue the important conversations from online in person.
4. Some are required. Yes, it’s true. Some conferences are required, depending on the initiative and what’s specifically listed in my contract. Sometimes, there are even financial stakes involved (for schools and for me). Recently, I couldn’t attend a conference out of state. The conference was for a national program that I signed up over a year ago to be a part of and attend. It says very specifically in the details that I was to attend. I didn’t, and now my district suffers, and I lost out on a merit goal. I guess I’ll have to find that $3850.00 elsewhere.
5. I’m telling our story. As Brad Currie always says, “tell your story, or someone else will.” My District has done amazing things in two years. This is not my doing; this is the teacher’s, administrator’s, and (most importantly) student’s doing. LAC has a whole lot to share.., especially what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. Telling our story helps others along the way, and if I can help just one person help their school move forward, it’s worth it.