Greetings from ASCD15

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The 70th Annual ASCD Conference and Exhibit Show opened today. The theme is Challenging Convention: Leading Disruptive Innovations. There is something here for everyone! The 183 page program booklet can be daunting at times. There is so much to take in and so little time.

Today’s post is just a brief reflection on each session I attended. More to come once I have time to reflect on highlights of the conference at a later date.

1. Maximizing A School’s Potential Through Teacher Empowerment presented by Kenneth Cooper and Joseph Salah

The presenters are the authors of the book Becoming a Great School: Harnessing the Powers of Quality Management and Collaborative Leadership. Their message of teacher empowerment was … well powerful. “We need to stop doing things to teachers and start involving.”

Some great questions were asked:

  • Can the faculty in a school change and improve what they are doing on behalf of the kids if they can’t work together?
  • Is outstanding teamwork optional when striving to have an outstanding school?
  • If there is discord on how a staff relates to each other, can change happen?

As an educational consultant I work with a wide variety of schools. I plan to read Cooper’s and Salah’s book to continue to enhance my abilities to help schools unit behind what is best for kids.

2. First General Session: The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, Sarah Lewis

I’ll be perfectly honest. Before today, I had not heard of Sarah Lewis or her book The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery – but she now has another FAN (along with many others). Her message is one with a sense of urgency and concern. Her studies of creativity, failure and mastery are essential for all walks of life, including the students sitting in our classrooms. In fact, during a short interview with the press, she mentioned that she had to unlearn many of the things she had learned in school in order to go on the path of RISE.

Lewis’s book is another one waiting for me to read. For now I’ll leave you with a few tweets I tweeted during the session:

  • Allow kids to experiment, to dream, to try and fail. They may just discover something never discovered before.
  • Do we let teachers explore, experiment, create, take risks, fail, and find success?
  • Find ways for the classroom to be a save place for students – embodies risk talking, play, curiosity.

You can watch Sarah Lewis’s TED TALK here.

My mind is swirling with other thoughts. Yet, it is time to prepare for tomorrow.


  • Faige Meller 21 Mar

    Great post. Sorry I can’t be there but reflections you share are so wonderful!

    • Kathy Perret 21 Mar

      Thank, Faige. Missing you. My mind is swirling (and I’m so tired).

  • Jenna Hansen 21 Mar

    I’m excited to check out Sarah Lewis’ work! Thanks for sharing!

  • Dianna 21 Mar

    I have attended several ASCD conference and they really are the best of all national educational conferences. Be sure to hear Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey if you get a chance. Excellent. Enjoy your time there. D 🙂

  • BSoltero 21 Mar

    Sounds like you are doing a lot of learning and having fun!! Thanks for listing those books! I wil have to look into reading them!!

  • Gael Lynch 21 Mar

    Do we let teachers experiment, create, fail and explore? I do think we’re in the dark ages right now on that. The degree of testing that interrupts the flow of teaching really inhibits the process in a huge way! Lots of thought provoking ideas in your post! Thanks!

  • Morgan 21 Mar

    Thanks for the glimpse into these sessions. You captured the key points and I love the questions that came out of the first session.

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