NAIS... A Week of Growth, Exploration and Inspiration

It's been more than six weeks since I was in Orlando, Florida at the NAIS Annual Conference. It's amazing how quickly time can go by when you are busy.  February was such an exciting month all together, and yet I barely found time to sit still, never mind blog about it.  So here we are, nearly the end of April,  and I am getting ready for my next NAIS adventure.  Nais: TABS Global Symposium.  Time is going fast.  When did this whirlwind begin!

Having the opportunity to present at NAIS was exciting. Collaborating with like 3 like minded educators, across the country, in the hopes of putting together a presentation that shared our mutual thoughts, feelings and passions about Global Education and Inclusivity Education was fun, and sometimes challenging.  In the end, the professional challenge made it all the worthwhile.  

Please feel free to check out the presentation, Getting to the AND:Building Inclusive Communities with Global Learning

NAIS also provided me other opportunities.  I was constantly inspired by the people I spoke with, listened to, and worked with.  While presenting Thursday afternoon meant that I didn't feel like I could fully engage that morning, Friday was thrilling, inspiring and professionally reflective.  

Highlights and Reflections

John Quinones, Emmy Awarding winning co-anchor of ABC Primetime and sole anchor of What Would You Do? Brought me to think and reflect on:

I have many heroes in my life but this week I am reflecting on the people of Boston.  My facebook status on Monday read:  

This is one of those days that I wish I could be "home". .  Congrats to all those who ran and big "Cheers" for those who lined the streets and supported! What a city, What a day!

Alongside John Quinones in his book, I recommend if you don't know the story of the Hoyt's you take a few minutes to check it out here. The marathon world just retired an amazing, heroic team!

  • Opportunities and people in our life and how they shape our future. 

Who "made" me a teacher? Who helped shape me?  Who inspired me to stay in this career? Throughout the last 16 years many names have come to mind when answering these questions. Students, teachers, administrators, PLN's, my parents...  the list could go on and on.  Today John Q,  the teacher who encouraged me to do more  is actually the first leader I felt like I worked under in independent schools.   My school desk has always had a picture that reminds me of where I came from and who truly gave me my first "chance". That interview on May 25, 1998 (I know this because at the time I was struggling with adaptation to the real world one day before my 22nd birthday) at Storm King School is where it all began.  Thank you Steve Mandell!  Thank you for taking that chance on me, for helping shape who I would become as a teacher and for continuing to encourage me throughout my entire career.  While it was a crazy few years on the mountain, I wouldn't take it back. I couldn't.  Thank you also for sitting through my NAIS presentation like a proud "Papa" (Your words-not mine), asking good questions and encouraging your team to come too.  It meant the world. I continue to reflect on John Q's questions, "Who am I as an educator?  Who do I still want to become?  Time will tell.  But I am certain that I can look to Steve for any advice along the way. 

I have been developing my Minimum Wage project for years. I discovered this year that 5th grade studies migrant workers at nearly the same time.  John Q's life story made me think of this and also the amazing interdisciplinary unit that is just begging to be created.  Good thing the Humanities teacher agrees.  We have a lot of work to do:)


Teachers Unplugged:  Explore and Discover

This one hour workshop allowed the teachers of the conference to share knowledge, passions and problem solve. I was particularly excited about my two small chats with like minded educators on "What do we continue to do even though we know we shouldn't?" and "How can I be more innovative".  These are great through lines of my practice now.  Think about it.  

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

I had no idea what to expect. If you haven't heard of Eric or investigating this wonderful, global collaboration please go here.  It made me reflect on how I want to continue to work through my global problem solving project and find more and more partners. Working together across borders to sing, play, and even do math will likely make us better global citizens. 


Assessing Your Past, Utilizing Your Present, and Discovering Your Global Future-Pinewood School, South Carolina

Reciprocity:  "Responding to a positive action with another positive action".  I could say the only reason I went to this is because my new friends of Pinewood (Steve Mandell is the head) attended my 1 hour session. However, that is not the whole truth.  I just knew that something good was going to come out of this session. I knew that Steve doesn't let his schools work in unintentional ways and I knew that I was bound to be inspired. Having met a few of these people on my trip to Pinewood in S.C. last summer, I was intrigued to hear more about the power of their initiative and how their passions were turning into inspiring curriculum. This teacher spearheaded program that is showcased by newsletters, built on 3 tangible essential questions/global competencies and support is doing GREAT things.  

They left me with the following advice:  Dream about where you are going, be flexible and willing to change, reach out and be openminded, honest, fair and inquisitive.  The result through teacher leadership will be the development of compassionate and inclusive students and adults in our communities.  Lastly, always remember where you started. 

Always remember where you started.  Thank you NAIS for reminding me.