Saturday, March 31, 2007

Postcards from Seattle

Greetings from the NAESP Convention in sunny (and slightly soggy) Seattle!

The thousands of elementary and middle level principals who flocked to this event have been treated to some amazing speakers and presenters thus far.

Yesterday, I had the chance to cover Dr. Thomasina Piercy's session on her book, Compelling Conversations, whch harnesses the power of one-on-one conversations between principals and teachers to help ensure all students reach their learning goals. An elementary principal in Baltimore, Piercy's multi-media presentation seemed to resonate with attendees.

NAESP always finds powerful keynoters, and this year is no different. I've been chewing on the remarks of authors and educators Jonathan Kozol and Erin Gruwell. Kozol is a well-known speaker on issues of education, poverty and race; Gruwell is inspiration for the The Freedom Writers project. Personally, I was moved more by Gruewell's speech (and her delivery) and will probably blog about that more later. Some of the more poignant comments from both:
  • "I think aesthetics count-- a lot. It's one of the sharpest ways we draw the line of race and class in America." - Kozol
  • "In America, because of archaic financing, the little ones we love come into school with a price tag already printed on their foreheads." - Kozol
  • "If you teach one, they will teach another." - Gruwell
  • "Every single day, these little kids are going to walk into your school and it's up to you tell your teachers to teach those kids, because every kid can and will make it, but it's up to us to be the unsung heroes and simply do the right thing..." - Gruwell
I met Gruwell (photo) briefly during a book signing following her presentation, and she was as genuine, bright and engaging in person. Can't wait to start reading her book.

Networking is also an important part of any conference or convention. Had a great lunch today at the Cheesecake Factory with four very hip, tech-savvy principals about blogging and how it has revolutionized their work. More on that later, too...Now off to dinner!


Principal Mr. Malone said...

We know who the hippest is. Erin was fabulous! It was a pleasure to meet you for lunch today.

Mr. Poling said...

It was great to meet you, Jocelyn. I was so glad we could all meet up to talk about blogging and the principalship. Keep up the great work on your blog. It is a model for other states' organizations.