With over 10,000 attendees on site and hundreds more streaming the sessions, the 69th Annual ASCD Conference was held in Los Angeles, CA on March 14-17, 2014. The atmosphere was a mix of southern California flair with high energy keynote speakers. The first general session speaker was Daniel Pink, author of several business books, including “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”. His major theme was a common sense approach to perfecting your power to move others to action. The results of his study of 7,000 full-time, adult workers were startling to me in that these professionals spend 41% of the work day or 24 minutes of every hour persuading people to give up something they value for something you can offer. My takeaway is that we must really hone our strategies of persuasion!
Dr. Russell Quaglia opened the Sunday morning general session by asking the audience two questions: “How would you rate your ability to put your dreams into practice?” “How would you rate that of your students?” During the lively presentation, Dr. Russ said that for many students “aspirations get lost in the limbo between dreaming and doing”. He also said that there is a huge gap in which about half of the student population feel disengaged and disconnected from their school community and that all educators must help with the connections. The Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations (QISA) gives us insight and a framework for action.
ASCD’s 2013 Annual Report celebrates ASCD’s 70th anniversary with a special theme of The Promise of Leadership: Sustaining Learning, Transforming Teaching. From the very beginning, the mission of ASCD has been focused on improving the learning experience for children. Take a look at the report at http://ar2013.ascd.org to see the outstanding achievements.
A highlight for those of us from Alabama was the Leadership Luncheon and the Award for Communication. This award is the very first ever for Alabama ASCD and was a culmination of lots of work from lots of people. The three areas highlighted were: the establishment of the webpage and the up-to-date information, the publication and distribution of the e-newsletter to over 1,000 individuals, and the “Yes! You Can Teach” event for high school juniors and seniors. We were humbled and proud to bring this award back to our members. One of the officers said to me as a way of congratulations that she thinks this is just the starting point for our affiliate and that she expects to see more awards for Alabama. I would set that as a goal for all of us in our work next year.
Now that this conference is history, it is on to Houston for the 70th annual conference in March of 2015.
-Dr. Jane Cobia, Alabama ASCD Executive Director