AASA 2012: "Big Conversations, Big Solutions."

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) will launch its annual Conference on Education on Feb. 16 in Houston, Texas.

This year’s conference will focus on “Big Conversations, Big Solutions,” as attendees focus on issues such as budget shortfalls, student achievement, and collaboration.

Conference breakout sessions are organized into different focus zones to help attendees make the most out of the conference.

Focus zones include:

  • Board/Superintendent Issues – Maybe you are new to the job, new to a district, an aspiring superintendent, or a veteran educator who works with a board of education. This year’s programming will feature panels of your colleagues discussing board/superintendent issues and ways for you to deal with the myriad of issues that come across your desk every day. Learn how to build a great relationship, communicate effectively and deal with problems so there is a win-win solution for everyone.
  • Management – Has the economy put a damper on innovations in your school or school system? Learn cost-effective solutions for surviving these turbulent times. Also hear about hot topics such as national standards, effective leadership techniques, using technology for data-driven results, social networking, and current technologies that can improve student achievement.
  • Executive Leadership – The leaders of the future require extensive background knowledge and professional development in all aspects of executive leadership. Whether you are a principal, cabinet member, or head of a school system, effective leadership skills are necessary to transform public education. Learn how to build effective teams, use a systems-thinking approach for change, and understand what succession planning really means and how school-level organization increases student achievement.
  • Student Achievement – Students of today must be prepared for a global society through innovative instructional practices, curriculum and technology. Sessions will include the hot topics of today coupled with practical application strategies to help school system leaders deal with unions, and pay-for-performance issues, observations and evaluations as they strive to improve student achievement.

Jamie Vollmer, president of Vollmer, Inc., will deliver the opening keynote on Feb. 16 and will focus on building public support for public schools. AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech will interview Vollmer on why schools can’t do it alone.

On Feb. 17, Rick DuFour, a former superintendent and educational author and consultant, will describe the specific strategies high performing districts are using to raise student achievement by developing the capacity of staff throughout the district to function as professional learning communities.

Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will address academic leadership and creating a climate of success for all students on Feb. 18.

And on Feb. 19, Dr. Robert Ballard, oceanographer and deep sea explorer, will guide attendees through “education through exploration.” Dr. Ballard will share his visionary leadership in creating The JASON Project, a STEM model for the country, while running the most significant oceanographic exploration effort in the country.