Thursday, October 5, 2017

IASA Conference defines, develops culture

Lynette Zimmer, superintendent of Lake Villa
SD 41 discussed use of therapy dog, Jeep.
At the annual meeting of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, attendees were encouraged to plan for the new funding formula, tell their story, rethink school, bond with their district communities (adorably, in one case), discover their own cultures, and allow students to find joy in learning.

Thomas Bertrand, superintendent of Rochester CUSD 3A, presided over the conference, held Sep. 27-29 in Springfield. Brent Clark, IASA executive director, spoke of the state “turning the corner” on public education.

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith updated breakout session attendees with information on the state’s evidence-based funding model, the federal approval of Illinois’ state plan, and their overlap and timelines.

The opening general session, led by Joe Sanfelippo of the Fall Creek School District in Wisconsin, encouraged superintendents to build a district culture and share its story. In a breakout session that followed, Superintendent Keely Roberts of Zion SD 6 spoke about “coming to terms with our story,” and how her district undertook “rethinking school.”

IASB Field Services Director Patrick Rice presented a pre-conference session on the board/superintendent relationship and breakout session entitled “Enhancing Education for African American Children and Effectively Involving their Parents.”

IASA presented an “Ignite” format for its second general session, with a series of quick five-minute presentations. Among them was the story of Jeep, a therapy dog owned, trained, and working in the schools and classrooms with Lynette Zimmer, superintendent of Lake Villa SD 41. Together, Jeep and Zimmer have developed a bond with the district community.

Sonya Whitaker of Harvey SD 152, keynoter at the third general session, spoke on culturally responsive leadership, relating that everyone has a culture, with a definition that opens “culture is the air that we breathe.” Educator Dean Shareski echoed those thoughts, and encouraged attendees to bring joy in learning to their districts, that “maybe it’s not about balance, but about intention.” Shareski’s presentation at the closing general session included “table-top texting,” where attendees could add their thoughts to the conversation.

The 2018 IASA Conference will take place Sep. 26-28 in Springfield.