February 1, 2023

Present at ACSA Superintendents’ Symposium 2023

Last week, the EveryDay Labs team had the pleasure of traveling to Monterey, CA for this year’s ACSA Superintendents’ Symposium, the first held completely in-person since before the pandemic. Superintendents from across California gathered for keynotes, sessions, and lots of happy reunions with old friends and exciting connections with new colleagues. In fact, there were nearly 100 new superintendents in attendance! Curious about the hot topics discussed during the conference? Read on for more!

Managing School Board Politics

It’s no secret that districts and their leaders across the nation are seeing incredibly heated discussions during school board meetings. There were numerous sessions offering tips for managing politics from challenging board members and vocal parents alike. From best practices to running a meeting to keeping a cool and even outlook modeling civil discourse, the importance of leading by example was emphasized.  

Additionally, there were great stories and ideas around strategically communicating to your wider community around the fantastic things your team is already doing for students. Superintendent Amy Alzina from Cold Spring SD shared how her own challenging experience taught her the importance of sharing your story first before others with bad intentions can falsely steer the narrative. While so many districts successfully plan and execute fun events and powerful initiatives that make schools such a valuable part of a thriving community, it’s essential to remember to share your amazing work. 

Community Schools

A topic already highlighted in the recent attendance guidance from State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, community schools have been an effective model in encouraging student success.  Challenging but impactful work, we heard from practitioners about the opportunities, experts, and funding available to help districts build stronger family and community relationships that drive achievement and joyful learning environments.

If you’re looking for some additional resources on community schools, check out this blog post featuring Sarah Peterson, Senior Director of Attendance, Research and Innovation at the NYC Department of Education, who helped implement mentor programs and much more that contributed to positive school cultures and better student outcomes.

 Improved school culture and attendance directly influence each other. Why not consider new attendance solutions like EveryDay Intervention to improve attendance; EveryDay Pro for attendance analytics and intervention coordination that helps streamline family outreach; or  professional learning from EveryDay Learning  to build best practices among staff.

 Putting Students First

 The life of any leader, especially superintendents, involves juggling an infinite amount of competing priorities and interests. From the luncheon honoring retired superintendents to a great presenter during the ACSA Women’s Breakfast, wise advice on how to stay focused on what really matters was in no short supply. But it should come as no surprise that the through line across it all was to put students first. This advice is important and true, however if you’re looking for more ideas on rethinking how you spend your time and identify priorities, check out 4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. Framed with the short amount of time we have on this planet (roughly 4,000 weeks), it offers a mindful approach to work and tackling our to-do list, and a reminder to carefully consider how we spend our precious time. 

Of course, these three topics weren’t the only ones discussed. Other popular sessions and conversations included ethnic studies and social justice standards, equitable hiring for female system leaders, school safety, workforce and staff retention, and the new financial normal after Covid funding begins to sunset. 

If you’re looking for California-specific resources, including funding insights for sustaining your district’s initiatives in school culture and attendance improvement, check out our California Attendance Transformation Toolkit! For additional attendance research and resources, visit our website.

Getting students on track starts with attendance. We can help.