So… I’ve started unburying myself from under all the unanswered emails… we’ve cleaned the Main Office… the extra bagels are all eaten… and everyone at SLA has almost caught up on sleep. (Who am I kidding with that last one?)
EduCon 2019 is in the books, and what an amazing three days it was.
Over and over again, I spent time in sessions, listening to educators work through challenging questions that face our schools, across a myriad of topics. And I watched facilitators create the conditions by which educators could engage in these conversation in ways that mirror the way all of us at SLA strive to do for and with our students every day.
This was the twelfth EduCon — which is, in and of itself, kind of incredible for any number of reasons. When we started, the notion that a school could put on a conference and get folks to show up was a pretty radical notion – one that drew its roots from the Coalition of Essential Schools’ Fall Forum, to be sure, but still a pretty radical idea. In fact, much of the idea of EduCon was to see if folks would come to a conversation-based event that wasn’t attached to a big conference. Which, now, given the proliferation of smaller conferences like EduCon and EdCamps and EDxEDNYC, seems incredible that we had to ask.
It’s amazing to think that hundreds of educators come from all over the country (and a few from all over the world) to spend time learning with us. It’s nothing you can ever take for granted – that people are willing to give of their time and come together to push all our thinking forward. The idea that so many of the people who come to EduCon are people I have come to know as friends is such a gift… the idea that there are people who, as Sam Chaltain said at EduCon years ago, view our yearly conference as a chance to reconnect with their tribe… it is just so wonderful.
But it’s also an incredible testament to the community that is Science Leadership Academy. And for that, I need to thank all the student co-chairs, all the parent co-chairs, all the teacher co-chairs… the thousands of students and parents who have volunteered their weekends to throw our yearly edu-party. Think about it… how many of us would happily have a day where hundreds of visitors showed up and walked through our classrooms? Every year, I’m awed by how the entire school gears up for the conference, and everyone rallies the energy to take the time to talk to visitors and explain their thoughts… and then spent the next two days turning the school into a conference center.
And over the last twelve years, the conference has raised over $500,000 all totaled for the school. It has sustained our laptop program some years. It has supported our internship program in other years. It has paid for a sports team when the district didn’t have the funds to maintain all our teams. And most importantly, it continues to create a platform for our students to see that they have a voice and a say in a national conversation about what our schools can be.
Thank you to everyone who comes to our school to share EduCon with us. Thank you to everyone at SLA who works to make EduCon happen. Thanks to everyone who takes part – on and off-line to deepen this conversation about how we can create more powerful, meaningful schools for all us.
See you at EduCon 2020.