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What you missed at NSBA 2016

We’re back from Boston. And I don’t know about you, but I’m still buzzing from a great experience at the 2016 National School Boards Association (NSBA) Annual Conference.

More than 5,000 school board members, administrators, and educators attended this year’s event—many of them in search of new ways to engage the different members of their school community.

Crowded sessions and engaged panels were a hallmark of this year’s event, as educators and leaders sought common solutions to some of their most-pressing leadership and communications challenges.

Couldn’t make it to Boston last week? Or simply want to relive some of the highlights from this year’s show? Here’s a few notes from a few of my favorite sessions:

Hope(less) is not a strategy: Dismantling political gridlock without all-out compromise
Dr. Dana Bedden, superintendent of Richmond Public Schools in Virginia, reminded school leaders to stay focused on the issues that matter. Bedden urged school board leaders and superintendents to move past “the anecdotes and distractions” in an effort to create stronger working relationships. It’s easy to get caught up in politics, Bedden said. But that’s not a reason to compromise your values. One way to get everyone on the same page: Start by asking your community what it wants. A well-designed survey is one solution.

Want your schools to succeed? The one relationship that matters
Luvelle Brown, superintendent of Ithaca City Schools, in upstate New York, championed his three E’s, “Engage, Educate, Empower,” which require superintendents and school boards to listen authentically to their local communities. An avid social media user, Brown uses technology to engage his school community on critical issues. He works tirelessly with the members of his local school board to find common ground derived from community input. Learn how Brown and other school leaders use social media to engage their school community in critical decisions. Get The School Leader’s Definitive Guide to Navigating Social Media.

How to stop a school crisis before it starts
Former school district superintendent Dr. Gerald Dawkins addressed a standing-room only crowd about the urgency of crisis prevention and intervention in schools. While there is no surefire way to prevent crises in your school or district, Dawkins told the audience of school board members and district leaders, there are steps you can take to prepare—and to keep manageable problems from spiraling out of control.

For more highlights from NSBA 2016, check out this video, with footage from Dr. Dawkins’ session:

Want more on school crisis prevention and intervention? We’ll dive deeper into topics discussed during Dr. Dawkins’ session next week.