2016 Leadership Summit: Inspire, Lead, Achieve

More than 900 school leaders attended the Nov. 10-12 ACSA 2016 Leadership Summit in San Diego. Educators from throughout the state heard from leading education experts and participated in dozens of workshops on the latest information in the field.

On Thursday, a roomful of Summit-goers had an opportunity to hear from the California Equity Leadership Alliance in a panel discussion featuring alliance representatives from ACSA, CAAASA, EdTrust West, CASBO, California PTA, CCSESA and CALSA.

Equity Panel

“Equity means every child, in every classroom having access to a quality teacher and rigorous curriculum,” said CAAASA President Ramona Bishop.

“To me, equity is the new coconut water,” said EdTrust West Executive Director Ryan Smith. “It’s a trend we’re all talking about, but nobody is drinking it. Equity is an economic imperative, because these students in our schools are the future.”

When asked what his definition of equity is, ACSA Executive Director Wes Smith noted, “That is the conversation we ought to be having in all our classrooms.”

Indeed, there was a strong equity strand throughout the Leadership Summit, with at least half a dozen sessions devoted specifically to the topic, and many others touching on the issue. In addition, there was a Career Networking Event and Equity Socials designed to reach diverse groups of educators.

Summit-goers heard s stimulating keynote address from Kim Bearden, co-founder and executive director of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. Bearden was the Disney American Teacher Awards Outstanding Middle School Humanities Teacher, and received the Award for Excellence in Education from the Milken Family Foundation.

Kim Bearden, general session speaker and co-founder and executive director of the Ron Clark Academy

She spoke of having to keep a good classroom balance between structure, discipline and respect on the one hand, and creativity, passion and enthusiasm on the other.

Bearden also talked about building a quality school culture. She outlined a number of things to strive for, such as smiling when speaking to staff as you pass them in the hall, acknowledging staff accomplishments publicly, listening first and admitting when you don’t have the answer, and showing interest in your faculty’s lives. Little failures, she said, can kill a school culture, rather than build a quality one.

Friday morning started off on a high note with keynote speaker Mike Abrashoff, former commander of the USS Benfold. He spoke of how he had turned the ship around from being one of the lowest performing in the U.S. Navy to being the highest performing ship in the Pacific fleet, all using the same crew. Abrashoff noted that some key aspects of his old job and that of school leadership are similar.

Captain Mike Abrashoff, general session speaker

“(As a ship commander) you don’t get to pick your mission, and you don’t get to pick your sailors,” he said.

He set out by interviewing all 310 sailors on his ship. When anyone mentioned a problem on board, his response was always to ask how the sailor would want to fix it. This led to some unique solutions, some of which ended up being adopted throughout the fleet.

The key to being a good leader, Abrashoff said is to look inward when things go wrong and to challenge yourself and the process.

“There are lots of things we can’t change, but just focus on the ones we can,” he said.

The Summit resulted in the strongest showing to-date of ACSA members using social media to get their news out on the conference immediately. Among the tweets and posts that tell the story are:

  • Tracey Golden: Three factors that directly relate to student achievement have to do with leadership. What we do matters. @ACSA_info
  • ACSA: “Social Media For School Leaders” talking about cyber bullying in Aqua 313 at #ACSAsummit
  • LUSDEDTECH Retweeted: Great information and resources here @ACSA_info great work Conference team
  • Becky Rocha: Always inspired by this conference! And, funny when @ACSAwes was your high school teacher!!
  • ACSA: “We will be there for our young people and for each other-because that's what we do.” - @rgporras
  • Craig Wheaton: “Equity is the process and equality is the outcome!” Great words from Equity Townhall meeting. #acsa_info #ACSAsummit
  • Katherine Goyette: Don’t let “continuous improvement” become a buzzword. Requires analysis, action. Rapid feedback, iteration. #ACSAsummit #ACSA
  • Abby Almerido: Hearing the personal stories of courageous educators championing equity for LGBTQ students and staff. #Inspired
  • Antoinette Gutierrez: #acsasummit #teamwork Beaumont USD is well represented, attending and working as a team!
  • ACSA_PAC: We are proud to announce the success of every education initiative in California! Go ACSA Advocates! @ACSA_PAC
  • Christine Facella: The shift in teaching science lessons is about changing the process and letting students think and wonder first. #ACSA
  • Candace Reines: Great ideas being shared at #ACSAsummit on CTE pathways in Adult Education!
  • Diane Batista: #ACSAsummit #teamwork sharing resources and watching the tell me more between sessions at Adult Ed strand! Go AE!
  • Sean Richey: Integrated ELD can be powerful when teachers target the right skill in the way it needs to be targeted. #ABC’sofNextGenELDSTAN
  • Terri Rufert: Thank you IES 4 supporting ACSA’S Every Student Succeeding celebration. They definitely deserve the acknowledgement. #ACSAsummit
  • Rebecca Andrade, Ed.D: Celebrating EVERY student succeeding w/1000+ of my closest ACSA friends. #ESS
  • Michael R McCormick: @rubiosx5 is “crushing it” right now @ACSA_info presentation on #MTSS from the Urban Ed. Committee.
  • Naseem Mandalia: Try asking “What’s the best thing that happened today?” instead of “How was your day?” #ACSAsummit #ACSA #coaching
  • Liberty Logan: #acsastaff is so welcoming! Not bad to share the thanks with some of my fav #members either.

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