The New Tech Annual Conference is a little over five months away. As one of the chairs for this event, I feel like have a large, Space Needle sized clock installed in my head ticking off the days, hours and minutes. Five months may feel like a lot of time, but for planning purposes, sometimes it feels like a week. This, however, was one of the great weeks in planning NTAC.
NTAC is intended to support and uplift the facilitators and leaders in our network. We work diligently to highlight the successful work and innovation of our schools and classrooms. Like many conferences, we want to kick off and send off with a bang! What better way to send home a group of educators than to connect them with the purpose of our work?
Students are the drivers of everything we do in education work. Contrary to the national dialogue around education policy and practice- there is far more intricacy to a classroom than standardized curriculum and assessment.
New Tech Network has shifted it’s the focus of support to student learning outcomes. When we come together once every year as a network to learn, share, collaborate and grow, we need students to be a part of that experience. Last year, we were approached by two NTN alumni who wanted to share their stories with the network. They shared how PBL, and a culture of trust, respect and responsibility developed their capacity to have great success in their college and career goals. We asked these alumni to close the NTAC conference-to remind us what all of this work is for.
We now hope to establish a new tradition for NTAC by closing our conference with the voices of our students. For NTAC 2014, we created the Student Closing challenge, and invited NTN students, grades 11-12 or alumni to submit a proposal for a closing session topic. This opportunity allows us to hear the voices of students from across the network and share the great learning that happens in our NTN schools. It also invites our students to share in network professional development and be the evidence in which we seek for quality teaching and learning.
I am proud to announce we have chosen our student winners. Silas and McKenna from Compass Academy will join us to close NTAC in New Orleans this year. We consider them our first honorary Agents of Impact.
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