Administrators Attend NAIS Conference in NY

Three PA administrators are planning for the future at the annual National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference, titled “Schools of the Future: Embracing the Educational Renaissance.” Head of School Barbara Chase, Dean of CAMD Linda Griffith and Dean of Studies John Rogers attended the conference in New York City from February 27 to March 1. According to the NAIS website, “We…have turned to the past for inspiration about our future…[the theme] suggests that a new age in teaching and learning is dawning.” The conference aims to help schools come up with original ideas, as well as gain both technical and “how-to-do-it” support, according to Myra McGovern, Director of Public Information at the NAIS. The conference offered over 140 workshops and included many speakers. Workshop subjects included “Communication and Advancement,” “Management” and “The Classroom Experience.” McGovern said that the variety of workshops allowed people to explore more than one avenue and target their individual school’s needs. Featured speakers included Mariane Pearl, who presented “Fighting Violence: Open up a Dialogue.” Pearl is the widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in 2002. Speaker Sir Ken Robinson gave a lecture entitled “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.” According to the NAIS website, Robinson is “an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation, and human resources.” The NAIS conference also hosted the Global Education Summit (GES). According to McGovern, the GES is limited to 350 people specifically interested in global education. Created in 2006, the GES “welcome[s] leaders of independent education from around the world for further conversations on global issues and the development of global citizens.” The two GES keynote speakers were Kwame Anthony Appiah, a Princeton University professor who discussed race and ethnicity, and Kenneth Bacon, President of Refugees International, a non-profit organization aimed at stopping the Darfur genocide. According to McGovern, the NAIS expected over 6,500 faculty and administrators to attend the conference—the largest attendance the conference has ever had. McGovern said that the conference has traditionally received very positive responses because it bestows an “inspiration factor” on attendees, which encourages them to execute their new ideas at their respective schools. McGovern said the members of NAIS pick the conference’s annual theme according to recent major topics and decisions in education. McGovern continued that President of NAIS Pat Bassett helps to select the themes that have included “Educating for Sustainability: How Far Will You Go?” and “Opening the Doors to the Global Schoolhouse…Today.” The NAIS also sponsored the People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Boston from November 29 to December 1. 38 faculty members and six students attended the conference.