Collabortion & the 2015 AASA National Conference

If it wasn’t for collaboration we would be confined to our own ideas and intuitions. 
The benefits of such collaboration were bestowed upon me this past week as I attended the AASA’s National Conference of Education in San Diego.
Before I go into detail and insights of the conference content, let me first give a shout out to the city of San Diego.  You have one of the cleanest, most beautiful cities I’ve ever stepped foot in.  The people are friendly, the skies are blue, the scenery is remarkable, and amenities plentiful.  I’m not just saying this because the temperature (when factoring in the wild chill) was 100 degrees warmer on Thursday then it was in Cooperstown.  I did however sigh when I departed your great city on Sunday morning. I told myself however, that is was not a goodbye, but I’ll see you again. 
When I left that Sunday morning, I left with so much more than I came with.  Nothing that I had to pack into a suitcase, but most of which was packed into my brain.    I must say that our nation’s schools are in great hands.  The passion that is exemplified by superintendents at this conference is unlike any other.  As a young administrator, I often act like a sponge and soak up as much information as I possibly can when I’m around other school leaders.  The collaboration and networking with others is undoubtedly the most beneficial aspect of conferences.
A picture of beautiful San Diego from the 16th Floor the
San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina Hotel 

This couldn’t be truer for this conference.  Being able to meet people face to face whom I had been twittering with was an enjoyable experience.  These administrators are doing great things in their districts.  I’m happy to call them colleagues, I’m happy to call some of them friends, and I’m extremely happy to have them in my Professional Learning Network.  I often times quote Woodrow Wilson when he stated that “I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.”  Thank you for letting me borrow your brains.  Thank you @AASAHQ for a great conference.
Speaking of brains, I need to send a shout out to some of the North Dakota administrators that were with me in San Diego.  Superintendents Chris Swenson – Wyndmere (@WyndmereSchool), Rob Lech – Jamestown (@robertlech), Todd Kaylor – Beulah (@t_Kaylor), Jeff Fastnacht – Ellendale (@ndcardinal), Jeremy Brandt – Central Valley.  If you do not currently have these individuals in your PLN, you are missing out.  Thank you gentlemen for providing me with a wealth of knowledge to take back with me to Cooperstown. 
North Dakota had a great showing at the conference.  The above named individuals were just a fraction of those representing our great state.  All of them have reinforced the importance of education to me.  North Dakota is in great hands.  I could not be happier with the work we are doing to ensure student success.  I may be completely biased (actually I’m pretty sure I am), but North Dakota knows how to do education.  We value the “whole” child and emphasize that a test score is just a fraction of the intelligent quotient for our students. 
As I’m writing about valuing the “whole” child, I would like to leave you with two of the most important things I took away from this conference.  Note – I do not have the actual sources that quoted the following takeaways.  These came about through presentations.
1.       4 out of 5 millennials believe that they cannot trust people.
2.      30% of students do not feel they belong.
If the previous prove to be true then we as a society have our work cut out for us.  Notice that I said we, and not just the school.  We all have an obligation to improve the lives of our youth.  Every child matters.  Every child has the ability to be something great.  Every child belongs.  It is our duty to ensure that every child has a chance to be great.  Let’s not miss out on opportunities to lift our students up and give them wings to fly.

Mr. Jordan

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