Innovative education leaders from across the nation gathered at the Battelle for Kids headquarters recently during the annual Spring Superintendent Summit. On March 8-9 in Columbus, Ohio, the 1.5-day experience gave superintendents from across the country the opportunity to recharge, learn, and connect with one another. The time together in this intimate setting also provided them with the chance to network, collaborate and learn together. Most importantly, they were able to take the time to invest in themselves so they could return to their school systems refreshed and ready to further the vision of providing 21st century, deeper learning for every student.
Here are some of the highlights from the Summit:
“Thinking extends beyond just the brain.”
Vice President Valerie Greenhill shared new insights and research findings around the science of learning. She discussed how intentionally involving the mind, body, environment, and other people in learning can enhance cognitive capacity. Having a shared experience with other individuals also has several cognitive benefits, according to the research she shared. These recent insights introduce different thinking about how we think and have implications for education transformation.
Attendee Feedback: “The science of learning always sparks new ideas to design lessons for students.”
“Hope is a skill, mindset, and strategy.”
The science of hope has rapidly evolved over the past three decades, and Vice President/Chief of Staff Jamie Meade shared some of those findings with Summit attendees. She spoke about how negative emotion and uncertainty are necessary for activating hope. People can also believe change is possible when they have the pathways and agency to make it happen. Hope is an essential component to effective and innovative educational leadership.
Attendee Feedback: “I really believe that this information is crucial to deeper learning, and I believe there is an opportunity for professional learning for teachers that mirrors today's session.”
“A sense of belonging is highly correlated to a meaningful life.”
In an exploration of the science of belonging, President and CEO Karen Garza spoke for the first time about the connection between belonging and its impact on an individual’s feeling of purpose. Cultivating belonging takes intentional effort, and she shared ways it can be approached with both the students and adults in an education system. Strong feelings of belonging can help advance 21st century, deeper learning across an entire system and establish a culture of high engagement.
Attendee Feedback: “What a day! I loved the focus on the science of learning, hope, and belonging - and the natural intersections of these essential building blocks. This is the real work!”
“Preparing students for their futures in this rapidly changing world is critical.”
A panel of business and industry leaders from Battelle, an independent not-for-profit organization that advances science and technology to have the greatest impact on our society and economy, shared the skills, abilities, and mindsets they like to see in individuals entering the workforce. Among them were problem solving, teamwork, critical thinking, confidence, and curiosity. The panel also spoke to the importance of asking questions and knowing how to recover in the face of failure. These skills and more are represented in many school systems’ Portraits of a Graduate.
Attendee Feedback: “I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from the team from Battelle about the needs of incoming employees.”
“All imagination requires some level of courage.”
Summit attendees participated in an engaging, immersive experience designed by the Columbus Museum of Art that helped spark their creativity. Over the course of three different exercises, participants learned about fostering imagination through “careful looking” at art and hands-on art creation. Taking this time allowed for the group to bring a new, fresh perspective to their leadership practices.
Attendee Feedback: “I feel completely emboldened to be courageous and curious moving forward.”