Pre-Conference Workshops

All Pre-Conference Workshops will take place on Wednesday, February 13

Workshops cost $125 until January 16 at which point the price rises.

Pre-Conference 1

Successful Innovative Practices for Improving Student Performance
12noon – 5pm

The preconference will present the findings of the recently completed AASA and the Successful Practices Network (SPN) national research study of the nation’s most successful innovative districts. The following sessions will highlight the five most impactful strategies for improving student performance:

Future-Focused Schools
In the nation’s most successful innovative districts, there is a future-focused culture. This session will describe how a variety of districts approach a long-term vision plan with highly successful processes and results.

Focus on Students Rather Than Content
All of us in education need to adapt to the changing learning needs in the 21st century. This session will explain why we must create a new and vibrant educational system for all learners, ensuring both college and career readiness.

Focus on Growth Rather Than Proficiency
In the nation’s most successful districts, there is a focus on growth as opposed to proficiency. This session will describe how future-focused districts chart growth in reading and math toward college and career readiness through data and analytical systems that are grounded in growth.

Instruction Focused on Application
The nation’s most rapidly improving schools focus on preparing students for success in the world beyond school. This session will share how these schools have adopted innovative instructional models that allow students to complete cross-disciplinary/real-world work every day in every class.

Professional Learning Models
In the nation’s most rapidly improving schools, professional learning has moved to various models of coaching, from classroom to boardroom, to provide timely shoulder-to-shoulder support. This session will share the various instructional and executive coaching strategies and structures they use as the foundation of their professional learning for teachers and administrators.

Action Plan to Implement Successful Innovative Practices — From Concept to Reality
This session will conclude by providing both a framework and specific strategies for implementing successful innovative practices that will improve student performance. Participants will create a districtwide action plan that pinpoints responsibilities for classroom teachers, building-level administrators, central administrative staff, and the board of education to achieve a common goal.

Bill Daggett, Founder and Chairman, International Center for Leadership in Education, Rexford, NY
MaryEllen Elia, New York State Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York, NY

Pre-Conference 2

Closing the AP/IB Equity & Opportunity Gap at Iowa City Community Schools and Santa Ana Unified School District
1 – 5pm

Iowa City Community Schools and Santa Ana Unified School District were both committed to students graduating exceptionally prepared for college, career and citizenship. To do so the districts had to confront the participation/opportunity gap (race and income) that existed in the AP/IB programs. The districts partnered with Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) to develop strategies for students of color and low-income students, who had the same aspirations and qualifications as their peers to be identified and engaged with for AP/IB enrollment. Both districts experiences a significant increase in AP/IB enrollment, and shifts the district adults’ mindset on student belonging. Learn how each district identified and recruited underserved students into rigorous academic programs.

Dr. Matt Degner, Assistant Superintendent, Iowa City Community School District, Iowa, IA
Dr. Chris Belcher, Superintendent-in-Residence, Equal Opportunity Schools; Assistant Teacher Professor, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Ed Winchester, Executive Director-Secondary Education, Santa Ana Unified School Districts, Santa Ana, CA
Terri Verhaegen, Program Specialist AP, Executive Director-Secondary Education, Santa Ana Unified School Districts, Santa Ana, CA

Pre-Conference 3

The Happiness Advantage — Orange Frog Workshop™ Realizing our Big Potential
1 – 5pm

From the research of Harvard positive psychology expert and 2016 NCE keynote speaker Shawn Achor, and that of many others in the field, we know that a positive engaged brain provides the greatest competitive advantage in the 21st century in the office and in the classroom. This happiness advantage includes higher engagement levels, increased levels of optimism and well-being, greater productivity, and reduced levels of stress. Best yet, happiness is contagious.

Based on Achor’s best-selling books The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential (released 2018), in this session you will learn how the latest research on positive psychology in education and interconnected success can be applied to the benefit of your school, staff and faculty as well as the classroom.

When you choose happiness, performance and many other important educational outcomes improve. For example, the Gallup Student Poll, which has surveyed nearly 5 million students since 2009, reported that happy, engaged students are 2.5 times more likely to say that they get excellent grades, compared to their disengaged peers. A 2009 study by Martin Seligman (one of founders of positive psychology) and his colleagues found that a “positive education” intervention for 9th grade students increased reports of student enjoyment and engagement in school, while also improving social and learning skills. It turns out that happiness is an incredible advantage in our lives.

When we encounter unexpected challenges or face difficulties, the best way to propel ourselves forward is to focus on what is going right, invest in the people around us, and operate with the belief that our behavior matters. Happiness includes the realization that together we can to reach our biggest potential.

The research also shows that positivity unlocks the potential of students’ performance, which makes teachers’ jobs easier – they know what a challenge it is to teach students who are feeling negative. Rather than pushing the students up a hill, teachers begin to realize that they can walk up the hill together on an exciting journey.

Join other administrators who are changing cultures and changing lives; we invite you to explore a workshop specially designed to bring the happiness advantage to life for your staff, educators, students and entire community.

Key Learning Objectives and Takeaways:

  1. Explore the seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance in education.
  2. Create your own personal plan for incorporating happiness into your life and district.
  3. Obtain information on the latest research regarding positivity in education, social and emotional learning, ESSA and creating an optimistic classroom.

Devin Hughes, Chief Inspiration Officer, International Thought Leader Network

Pre-Conference 4

Using a Portrait of a Graduate to Transform Your District: A Leaders Workshop
1 – 5pm

The most transformative districts in the country have engaged their larger community in developing a Portrait of a Graduate, a collective vision that articulates the community’s aspirations for all students. Locally developed, but globally positioned, the Portrait of a Graduate serves as a North Star for system transformation. Leadership teams work collectively to build this vision into every aspect of their strategic plan.

In this interactive and engaging workshop, education leaders will be challenged to: 1) create a leadership strategy for engaging their community in the development of a Portrait of a Graduate, and 2) develop a road map for implementation, considering key shifts in instruction, professional learning, assessment, and school culture. Participants will leave with free tools and resources to help bring to life their vision of 21st century learning for all students.

Ken Kay, CEO, EdLeader21, A Network of Battelle for Kids, Tucson, AZ
Karen Garza, President and CEO, Battelle for Kids, Columbus, OH
Shannon King, Chief Innovation Officer, Battelle for Kids, Columbus, OH
Karen Cheser, Superintendent, Fort Thomas Independent Schools, Ft. Thomas, KY

Pre-Conference 5

Improving Your High-Needs Secondary Schools in the ESSA Era
1 – 5pm
Workshop is complimentary with registration

AASA and Talent Development Secondary join forces to create a NIC (network improvement community) that will commence in the fall with a webinar series about what this community is and how it will culminate on Wednesday, February 13 at the AASA National Conference in LA with a formal RFP to all participants who choose to participate. In the webinar series leading up to the event, Dr. Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University Everyone Graduates Center and Charles Hiteshew, the Executive Director of Talent Development Secondary will be hosted by AASA leadership to walk district leaders through the ESSA requirements around transforming our 5% most challenging schools. They will discuss the unprecedented resources available to the challenge, and what the evidence says about how to get impact. Having just achieved impact with the Diplomas Now network consisting of 60 schools in eleven districts over the past eight years, Balfanz and Hiteshew will speak to not only the lessons of research but also their shared experience in managing one of the largest randomized control trials for whole school transformation in the nation’s history. They will discuss not only recent history of school transformation in challenging and high poverty contexts, but they will discuss the key levers district leaders must be willing to pull to move the proverbial dial. The webinar series will culminate in a half day Precon with AASA where TDS will issue a formal RFP to participating district leaders who will be asked to propose 2-4 secondary schools that they think can meet the requirements of the project, and who also are willing to serve as the first cohort of ESSA practitioners that will enjoy a quasi-experimental 3rd party evaluation provided by Dr. Balfanz’s Everyone Graduates Center staff, as well as an opportunity to join a formal learning community that convenes yearly at the Precon and shares progress, successes, challenges and lessons learned with the broader group of Precon participants.

Charles Hiteshew, Executive Director, Talent Development Secondary, Baltimore, MD
Robert Balfanz, Professor and Director, Everyone Graduates Center, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Pre-Conference 6

NESLI Women’s Advanced Leadership Program (ALP)
1 – 5pm

About the Program:
The NESLI Women’s Advanced Leadership Program has been developed to reflect the complex needs and challenges of today’s female educational leaders by offering both skills development and emotional enrichment. The structure and content of the ALP has been influenced by a unique range of stakeholders including respected leadership experts, leading universities and female educators across all educational sectors.

At its heart, the ALP is designed to support the development of high caliber female educators and as such the program is intrinsically linked to school and education systems learning outcomes. Having a commanding grasp of the essential behavioral and environmental complexities of effective leadership is instrumental in achieving your long-term goals. The ALP is built around NESLI’s guiding principles of empowerment, growth and collaboration ensuring that participants connect deeply with their learning journey and establish the foundations for long term career growth.

Workshop Overview:
This workshop is designed to be a high-impact, half-day masterclass for female educational leaders. During this eye-opening experience, participants undertake a guided exploration of their own strengths and weaknesses as they relate to their effectiveness as leaders.

Immersed in a highly stimulating, creative and collaborative learning environment, participants will be steered through a process of innovative exploration leading to new insights and a deeper understanding of their innate capability. This workshop will challenge participants to critically evaluate their current proficiency in order to begin to unlock their full potential.

The topics explored throughout this workshop align with the modules of the program, including:

  • Module 1: Mindful and Authentic Leadership
  • Module 2: Conflict and Feedback
  • Module 3: Mastering Influence and Negotiation
  • Module 4: Leading Innovation and Change
  • Module 5: Creating My Path

Information regarding registration for the program and scholarship opportunities will also be available during this workshop.

Dr Janet Smith, Program Director NESLI and Associate Professor University of Canberra, Canberra, AU
Dr. Rachel Boechler, Facilitator for NESLI in the Advanced Leadership Program and associate professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in the MBA in Educational Leadership program, Milwaukee, IL