Professional Learning

Be a Wavemaker: Model Schools Conference 2022 Recap

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Making Waves in a New Era of Learning

Groundbreaking. Boundary-pushing. Future-focused. For 30 years, the Model Schools Conference has challenged thinking and inspired educators to remember their why.

This year was no different as educators across the U.S. and beyond signed on—literally and figuratively—to Make Waves in a New Era of Learning. Teachers and leaders, in person and online, heard from more than 100 presenters. Their unique stories and innovative practices rejuvenated and reenergized educators to make real-world readiness a reality.

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The Rigor/Relevance Framework, with waves in Quadrant D, where high rigor meets high relevance.

Top 10 Takeaways from MSC 2022

ICLE staff have curated the Top 10 Takeaways from Model Schools, Innovative Districts, Epic Educators, and ICLE Partners and Consultants that will guide leaders and educators toward Making Waves as you head back to school:

  1. Be Intentionally Invitational. Invite family members, students, and colleagues to be an essential part of the learning journey. Be intentional and direct in your communications. Provide clear expectations that implore—almost demand!—their engagement. Clarity around their roles in learning and how they can take ownership is much easier when you, the educators, are direct.
  2. Set a Goal That Scares You. If you’re not working toward something that scares you, it’s time to reevaluate your goals. Encourage students and colleagues to do the same. Taking risks increases expectations and strengthens connections and support. Success will be the outcome.
  3. Lead with Vulnerability. Vulnerability is not a weakness. Rather, it builds the connections and trust that solidify meaningful relationships with kids. Without vulnerability, we can’t access the experiences that allow us to empathize. Relationships, conflict, and respect are the variables that combine to understand vulnerability.
  4. Challenge the Status Quo. You cannot continue to do things you’ve done just because they’ve always been done that way. Now is the time to critically analyze our respective schools, take a stand, and do what is best for our students.
  5. Prioritize Relationships. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the X factor. Small gestures make big waves. From playing upbeat music as students get off and on buses each day to greeting them at the door. Daily positive affirmations promote confidence and commitment to goals: “I’m a dreamer, my dreams matter, I will not give up on my future or my dreams, this is my solemn pledge.”
  6. Build Instructional Capacity. Keep the why—the students—at the heart of how you support your teachers. A strong foundation is necessary to build and implement a strategic plan for professional growth. A tried-and-true instructional coaching model can significantly increase rigor, relevance, and engagement for all students.
  7. Focus on Every Student, Every Day. Collect, analyze, and leverage your student data to recognize academic diversity, personalize learning, and turn deficits into student growth. Commit to a new learning era that intentionally meets ALL learners’ needs.
  8. Build Your Brand and Tell Your Story. How do students, faculty, family members, and the community perceive your school or district? No matter the answer, determine the risks of falling short and the necessary action steps for continuous improvement. Utilize social media and build a solid yet manageable plan to communicate frequently and tout the great things you and your school are doing.
  9. Cultivate Your Culture and School Community. Faculty and staff set the tone for your school and cause a ripple effect on students, families, and the community. Build your school or district culture with intention, starting at the top. Harness the power of personal notes, address concerns from faculty and staff, and encourage a mindset of TGIM: thank goodness it’s Monday!
  10. Transform, Don’t Transact. Children learn better through transformational teaching. If we’re not investing in the person in front of the classroom, we are not investing in transformational change. Teachers have the power to create generational impact through caring deeply for students and creating a unique and united classroom. Educators need support to grow with their students.

Continue your professional learning journey with us at the 31st Annual Model Schools Conference in Orlando, in June 2023. Apply to be part of the 2023 Class of Presenters or register today.


Looking for a yearlong partner to drive transformational change? Contact ICLE today to help you achieve real outcomes and measurable impact.

Join us for the 31st Annual Model Schools Conference | June 2023 | Orlando, FL

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