Table talk MSPRA style – SCN Encourager 3/19/2014

2nd graders have it made.

They can admit to looking forward to lunch and playtime without the fear of ridicule.

This profound thought popped into my brain right after the final session of the morning on day one of last week’s MSPRA Spring Conference.

Yep, kids are lucky to be able to blurt out whatever they’re thinking.

Ah... heartshaped  goodies!

Ah… heartshaped goodies!

I had to pretend like the upcoming break for lunch was no big deal – that I could sit through presentations fully alert all day like a true pro – and yet, I probably blew my pretense to shreds by leaping up to be the first in line at the buffet table.

I guess that wasn’t the classiest move to make.

But once we all gathered (aka “piled up”) our food on your plates, MSPRA leaders directed us to our assigned spots for “table talk.”

This was a nice touch, and it re-affirmed the fact that for most live conferences, it is the people in attendance who provide the longest-lasting value.

So right after informally introducing ourselves to each other at our table, we began discussing the different scenarios provided to us.

Within seconds I knew that I was a part of a “high experience, high smarts” group of communicators.

How could I tell?

Well, Kristin Tank (MAISD, Muskegon) and Deb Hartman (Rochester Community Schools) are two of the nicest people you’d be privileged to meet… and boy, do they listen carefully, think before speaking, and ask those dig a little deeper questions.

There was hardly a school-related situation that hadn’t come their way before.

Kristin wanted to know how our our districts were coping with Michigan’s new 21F mandate.

Deb offered a glimpse of what was happening in Rochester, and then I thought I’d better jump in with a probing question of my own, “what’s 21F?” 

I knew my superintendent, curriculum director, and tech integration specialists were on top of this back home, but I was still somewhat confused about it.

Kristin had collected input from school administrators in West Michigan several weeks ago and she had organized all of the assorted message points into an easy-to-read overview of 21F.

If you don’t have a copy, here it is: 21FDefined

Awesome work, don’tcha think? 

Because of the success I was having in learning from Kristen and Deb, I thought it was the perfect time to move onto the one question that had been bugging me since the MSPRA Spring Conference began –

“What’s the difference between an ISD and a RESA?”

I hope Kristin and Deb eventually made it home safely from East Lansing.

When I left the next day, they were still trying to figure this one out.

Tom Page, SCN
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