Over the past year I’ve heard a lot of stories about inspiring students. Students standing up against violence, students advocating for teachers, and students who have taken the reins of leadership to build stronger student relationships. But, students aren’t the only people giving me inspiration. It can be easy to forget that they are still just children and that they still look to adults as role models and examples to guide them as they develop their own identities. This past year, many of my friends in school PR have inspired me too. They have inspired me with stories of best practices. They have told stories of the amazing work your teachers and staff are engaged in. They have stood up against bad actors. They have been examples of the strong, smart, and compassionate people that we want our children to be. You have led a world that inspires our students to be their best, and that prepares them to succeed.
As #NSPRA2018 draws closer I am getting more and more excited to see all of you. To hear first-hand all of the great work you’re doing. I can’t wait to join you in sessions designed to help you and your peers grow and succeed. This year’s conference will be a chance for everyone to meet with old friends, make new connections with amazing people, to let our hair down a bit, and to walk away with heads and hearts full of great ideas to carry us through the coming school year.
This year will be truly amazing. As I look over the schedule of sessions, I am in awe at the all-star cast. Greg Turchetta, Lesley Bruinton, Carla Pereira, Joseph Ortiz, Brian Woodland, Trinette Marquis-Hobbs, Justin Elbert, and the list goes on and on. This is a chance to learn from a collective hundreds of years of experience, from some of the leaders in school communication. Some of the sessions I’m most looking forward to are:
- Carla Pereira’s Speech Writing and Storytelling session. If anyone knows how to tell a story that motivates action, it’s Carla!
- Equity in Education panel. I can’t wait to hear each panelists take on making sure every student has a personalized, successful experience in school.
- Creating Conversation from Chaos panel. If there’s one thing todays students must deal with, it’s Chaos. True leaders can help students navigate the chaos to find their own stable foundation.
- Student Perspectives panel. This presentation brings in students from Vestavia Hills High School who took student engagement into their own hands to create a student-based community in their own school.
- Carstarphen’s Engagement Power presentation. This year’s Communication Technology Award winner shares how she uses communication to build a district community.
- Lana Snodgras’ Sesame Street presentation. The always entertaining Lana Snodgras uses a fun model to demonstrate the importance of understanding demographics.
- Growth Mindset panel.Julie Thannum will lead a panel of experts through a discussion on leading and learning.
Check out the dozens of other sessions and panels that NSPRA superstars are presenting this year. It’s times like this I’m glad I have a team that can join all the other sessions and share notes. I’m also thankful that NSPRA goes to such great lengths to make session slides and recordings available too.
My job gives me an opportunity to attend many different types of conferences throughout the year, and I have to say that the PR community at NSPRA is the most tight-knit, closest networked, most supportive community of any group I’ve ever seen. And this year, maybe more than any other year, we need this group of strong, creative, caring, and reliable communicators to make sure our students have good examples to follow. I can’t wait to see you all there, and to be inspired and energized by you all.
Come find me at one of our events!
Blackboard Day: Sunday, July 15
12:00 – 4:00pm
Save your seat
Student Perspectives Session: Monday, July 16
1:00 – 2:00pm
Blackboard Party: Monday, July 16
7:30 – 10:30pm
Storytelling Through Research Session: Tuesday, July 17
1:00 – 2:00pm