Not a typical day at work.

First, I love my job, the people with whom I work, the work we do, and our district. I enjoy just about everyday.

Then there was today. WASA (Washington Association of School Administrators) hosted its Winter Conference. The conference was entirely virtual. Lots of organizations host conferences, and hosting them virtually isn’t big news these days.


Our learning today featured 3 speakers, each of whom challenged me and us in ways that were remarkable. The speakers were Tim Shriver, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Marc Brackett.

The bulk of the conversation was focused on relationships, mental health, and their impact on students’ learning.

Here are a couple of slides that grabbed me, among all the slides that grabbed me:

Also words. Words that I want to remember and from which we can launch and continue our work.

“The human relationship is the foundation of the learning relationship.” -Tim Shriver

“What kind of normal do we want to get back to?” Sir Ken Robinson

Dr. Rita Walkers ABCs. A: assume you can help B: be a good listener C: Cancel judgement

And we heard from a student named Micah. Micah asked Tim Shriver questions via a communication device. His questions were profound and moving. As were’s Tim’s thoughtful responses. One of Tim’s responses had a group of 154 leaders in tears. What has he learned from Special Olympic athletes?

The power of networks and conferences lies in the elimination of loneliness in a struggle. There are good people everywhere, doing good work, caring for each other, calling out mental health emergencies (90% increase in students seeking mental health support post COVID), and designing solutions to present, hard problems.

Thank you to WASA for an amazing morning, our 3 excellent speakers, and Micah.

A good day at work.

Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years.

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