A Re-Energizing Experience at the 2019 #MASBALC

Greg Rokisky

By Greg Rokisky, MASB Marketing Manager

DashBoard, Nov. 13, 2019

Collaboration, high energy, a commitment to Michigan students and some snow; these are the core themes (and weather recap!) I’m taking away from this year’s MASB Annual Leadership Conference in northern Michigan, Nov. 8 – 11. This event serves as a great annual reminder of the important role school board members have across the state.

These four days are ones in which many attendees pledge upwards of 14 hours a day to learn, network, and find new solutions or ideas that they can then bring back to their district with the same goal in mind—increasing student achievement for Michigan’s kids.

At the conference I heard countless words of support and praise for its various aspects, whether it was the caliber of this year’s General Session speakers; quality content of the accompanying clinic sessions; newly reformatted Exhibit Show paired with the Welcome Reception; launch of the MASB Events app; or the effectiveness of the facilitators in the dozens of Board Member Certification (CBA) courses taking place. But none of this would be possible without one critical ingredient—the commitment from all of the attendees to grow in their role as school leaders.


Don’t Take It From Me

I can sit here and gush all day (maybe more) about how much I believe events like #MASBALC can be critical to refueling focus, inspiration and energy for individuals serving in a volunteer capacity, but I also think that it’s helpful to share others’ experience, like Nick’s:

MASB Events App Post

Along with Nick, there were more than 200 first-time attendees at the 2019 #MASBALC. Finding the time to fit in continued learning opportunities isn’t always easy but, when you come out on the other side of an event you make time for, the payoff can be invaluable.

Data-Driven Content

In addition to the attendees present, the speakers are another exceptional component of #MASBALC.

From creating systems for social emotional learning in schools as told by Nick Yoder, Ph.D., Director of Policy and Practice at the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, to the energy brought to the MASB stage by Bill Pink, Ph.D., President of Grand Rapids Community College and the inspirational words by closing keynote Josh Schneider, Author and Founder of The Millennial & Employee Engagement Institute, all of this year’s General Sessions had one obvious thing in common—they were all driven by data. When speakers pair their presentations with data that is hard to ignore, it makes the narrative that much more impactful.

For example, did you know:

  • Demand for social and emotional learning is at an all-time high in every sector? (95% of principals are committed to developing students’ social and emotional skills in their schools; 93% of teachers want a greater focus on social and emotional learning; and three out of five parents give greater importance to their children being happy and not overly stressed, than doing well in school, to name a few.)
  • Michigan needs 175,000 new university grads and 126,000 new certificate/associate grads and yet college-going rates are declining?
  • 13% of people love their job and are not looking? When it comes to the role and responsibilities of school board members, it’s essential to bring passion and love to what you do. Being reminded that you get to touch people’s lives with what you do is an incredibly powerful motivator when things get busy or challenging.
Nick Yoder, Ph.D. Bill Pink, Ph.D. Josh Schneider

Staying Connected

Coming together where attendees can problem-solve, hear what’s worked or what hasn’t, and the solutions generated as a result are great ways to avoid recreating the wheel. In the sessions I facilitated, this was always true. While I’m up in the front of the room, I always tell eager learners that they are the most valuable asset in the room; all they need to do is be engaged and willing to share.

Additionally, I was impressed with the engagement across social media and on the new MASB Events app. Digital tools allow us to connect and stay in touch—this year, I felt this was exceptionally true.

You can check out photos from Day One, Day Two and Day Three of this year’s conference over on MASB’s Facebook page.

What’s Next?

As you settle back into your districts and day-to-day routines it’s important to remember what was learned at #MASBALC this year. Remember to take time to energize yourselves, recalibrate the goals and priorities of your board, and strive to collaborate and work together. Michigan’s students are counting on it.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s event possible—from sponsors, speakers, hotel and resort staff, attendees, exhibitors, MASB’s Board of Directors and the wonderful MASB staff. It came together swimmingly in this collective team effort.

We can’t wait to see you at future MASB events, including the 2020 Annual Leadership Conference taking place Nov. 5 – 8 in Lansing!

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