1. Rob Evans and the Families First Session
  2. CWRA information session
  3. Visiting with Friends
  4. Participating in the NAIS AC online community
  5. Tony Wagner
  6. Pat Bassett
  7. Klingenstein reception
  8. Thought Leaders Summit: Building Schools for a Digital Age
  9. Tina Seelig: Innovation as an Extreme Support

1. Rob Evans and Families First Session: My conference will begin Wednesday at 1 with attending the Families First session, along with my wife Carman.   I really recommend bringing a spouse to the conference; my wife and I really enjoyed the shared experience, visiting with friends, finding support among colleagues, and we have really appreciated the NAIS-facilitated programs for Head and spouses.  With these sessions and support, we find ourselves strengthened and refreshed in the demanding responsibility and roles we have as the First Family of our School.  It is great of NAIS to fund the excellent services of the unique reassuring voice of wisdom and counsel that Rob Evans provides– I find, after 12 years of listening to Rob, that I never go away feeling anything but more confident and more comfortable in my leadership role.

2. CWRA information session:This isn’t on the official catalog, it is an invite only event, but maybe (?) they will welcome you if you just show up (at the Marriott, Pacific 1).  Regular readers here know well of my enthusiasm for the College and Work Readiness Assessment, and my urging that all NAIS high schools enroll.  This session, on the topic of Collaboration for 21st century success, will include “participating independent schools discussing their experience with the CWRA as it relates to curriculum, data analysis, interpretation and use of results, and administration.”  You can be sure I will post a thorough blog report from this session.

3. Visiting with Friends: Maybe it goes without saying, but a huge highlight of this event every year is getting to see so many friends, and I know last year in Chicago I was struck by the powerful recognition that more than a dozen of the people I see annually at NAIS, great folks from my NAIS INH 2000 experience, from the California Association of Ind. Schools, and from my Klingenstein Visiting Fellowship program 2008, are not just my good professional colleagues, but really some of my best friends on the planet, and I feel deeply appreciative of this (and so excited to see them!)

4. Participating in the NAIS AC online community: I have always enjoyed my real-world attendance at NAIS, but I am also learning to love the parallel virtual world dynamic that happens at twitter (#naisac10), and now at http://naisac10.wordpress.com/.   Although it requires diligent and sometimes dizzying multi-tasking, it is an awesome intellectual and social experience to be reading what others are thinking about speakers and programs while they are happening.  I always appreciate multiple perspectives on any topic, and to be able to enjoy a running commentary and dialogue while about what we are learning is very powerful for me, and it is bringing me to meet and appreciate more and more very fine leading thinkers in this business.

5. Tony Wagner: Again, regular readers know all too well (sorry) about my enthusiasm for the Global Achievement Gap and its author Tony Wagner.  Tony and his book have been a huge inspiration to my new headship, and we are very excited he is coming to visit us at St. Gregory March 31 and April 1.  In my opinion, nobody else, nobody, bridges and unites three separate and essential arguments and understandings: one, the way in which the world is changing and the new skills that are required for that new world of work; two, the living reality of what is actually happening in today’s high school classrooms; and three, how we can best transform our schools.   I just saw Tony speak in Dallas, and this is a highly recommended session. Click here to read my post, how we at St. Gregory are using Wagner’s Global Achievement Gap.

6. Pat Bassett: I think NAIS is very fortunate to have an association leader who is also truly a thought leader and a provocative change agent.  I will be in attendance to hear Pat’s annual state of the industry Thursday morning, and Friday morning I am very enthused to see that Pat will co-present with John Couch and Mike Horn on what disruptive change portends for our schools.  Click here to read my review of the Disrupting Class, the book, and to read a response to my post from the book’s co-author, and Pat’s co-presenter Michael Horn.

7. Klingenstein reception: A brief shout-out for the excellent programs of the Columbia University Klingenstein center, at which I had the fabulous experience and privilege to be a Visiting Fellow in 2008; I am looking forward to seeing friends and fellow “Klingons” at the reception Thursday.

8.  Thought Leaders Summit: Building Schools for a Digital Age This looks like a great session, and kudos to NAIS for organizing it.  I am sure all four presenters will be good, but I’d suggest coming if only to hear the representative of New Tech Network.   It seems to me more people in NAIS know about, and rightly admire, the High Tech High school programs, but in my research last year visiting 21 schools, I found New Technology HS actually more interesting and more powerful as a model for 21st century excellence.   See my blog posts on NTHS here (my live-blog of a day spent shadowing a student at NTHS Sacramento) and here.

9. Tina Seelig: I don’t know anything about Seelig, but her topic is very enticing to me: Innovation as an Extreme Support.  Regular readers here know that a favorite topic for me and my explorations is how can we better educate our students to be innovative, and I am eager to learn from Selig.

This is hardly exhaustive– I should also highly recommend Carol Dweck, who is an incredibly important educational thinker to my eyes, and I am eager to learn from Mimi Ito on New Media, and from Juan Enriquez on the life science revolution.   All this, and I haven’t even begun to really review the detailed workshop schedule.

It looks to be a great conference; come back here often for reporting and commentary, and please be welcomed to post your own comment.   See you in San Francisco, or see you online!