NAIS 2011; Reflections of Day One

23 FEB 11 @ 8:30 p.m.  – Wow! It’s been quite a busy first day here at NAIS’ Annual Conference. The day started bright and earlier with coffee in the beautiful atrium here at the Gaylord National Convention Center and a chance meeting with Demetri Orlando (@demetri); with whom I’d be presenting with later in the day, and Jamie Field Baker (@jamiereverb)  – an impromptu conversation over lattes about how our schools will need to make ourselves more relevant in the years head was quite a filling breakfast to kick start Day One.

At 8:30 a.m. the team with whom I was to present “Creating Connected Teachers: Professional Growth Using Networked Collaborations” met in our room to finalize our presentation – which had been completed entirely virtually over the past few months. The synergy between Sarah Hanawald (@sarahhanawald), Peter Gow (@pgow), Demetri Orlando (@demetri), Vinnie Vrotny (@vvrotny), Derrick Willard (@dwillard), and I as we worked to polish the flow for our workshop was a joy in which to participate – watching connected educators preparing to speak passionately about the Web 2.0 tools they most favor in helping them learn and grow professionally was inspiring.

At 10:00 a.m. I had the good fortune of attending NAIS’ 21st Century Curriculum and Technology Task – my second full year on the team -- where I had the opportunity to learn about a variety of fantastic initiatives happening at schools around the country. I consider myself blessed to have had the good fortune to learn and be inspired by folks like Demetri Orlando (@demetri), Geoff Wagg, Alex Ragone (@alexragone), Jennie Vorhees, Wendy Drexler (@WendyDrexler), Eileen Powers, Jill Brown (@drjillbrown), Howard Levin (@howlevin), Antonio Viva (@antoniovia), Chris Bigenho (@bigenhoc), Arvind Grover (@arvind), Jamie Britto (@jamiebritto), Tim Fish, Paul Miller and Susan Booth. Most importantly, however, I was excited to learn that NAIS now has a Schools of the Future sub-committee for NAIS’ Board of Trustees.

After a full meeting, I take a quick jaunt down to check-in at the presenter’s booth and I have the opportunity to meet Jonathan E. Martin (@jonathanemartin), Head of School at St. Gregory School in Tucson, AZ face to face – I’ve been following his work online and it was great to connect, albeit briefly. After checking in I head to National Harbor Room 13 and get setup to present.

With 30 minutes before we start I head downstairs to grab a quick bite to eat along the way and I have the good fortune to run into William Taylor, a former colleague of mine from Trinity-Pawling who is now the Head at St. George’s Independent School in Memphis, TN as well as Jim Foley (@foleysquared) whom I met by chance at last year’s conference in San Francisco --- Do you see a trend here? You bet, NAIS’ Annual Conference is about connecting and reacquainting yourself with colleagues (and it’s only the pre-conference day!) and having wonderful and fruitful conversations.

With 15 minutes to spare I’m back in National Harbor Room 13 and folks are starting to enter the room. We all get settled and the session begins.  And, in a blink of an eye, it’s now 4:00 p.m. and the entire team has successfully kept the attention of 32 eager learners all interested in becoming connected, collaborative educators. – whew! The day is speeding by quickly.

We finish chatting, making connections and re-orienting the room and then I and Sarah Hanawald head over to an Education Innovation Summit Advisory Committee meeting at McCormick & Scmick’s – we both had the good fortune of presenting at the inaugural event last November at The Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, OH and are eager to lend ourselves to helping that initiative grow in the years ahead.

It’s now 5:45 and we head back to the Gaylord for a longer meet up of the contingent of North Carolina educators here this week – Sarah Hanawald (@sarahhanawald), Sam Morris (@samandjt), Meredith Stewart (@msstewart), Matt Scully (@mattscully), Derrick Willard (@dwillard) and Laura Deisley (@Deacs84) from Atlanta -- always good to get connected with local folks as well since we do not have the opportunity to see each other frequently enough during the school year. After lots of good conversation I’m back in my room at 8:30 for an hour of much needed solitude and processing (and crafting this blog post) before I head downstairs at 9:30 to meet up with Linda Vaus (@fivecard) and Karen Blumberg (@specialkrb) with whom I’ll be presenting Static Systems/Dynamic Ideas: Managing Tradition and Innovation in Our Schools at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning in National Harbor 12.

Remember, while here make sure you connect, share, and find time for solitude!

I hope everyone’s first day here in Washington, D.C. was as fruitful as mine!