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3 Superintendent Insights For This Year and Beyond

3 Superintendent Insights For This Year and Beyond

Mar 5, 2024, 14:01 PM by Hailey Fitch
Explore takeaways from some of the most notable education leadership topics at AASA’s 2024 National Conference on Education.

By: Elizabeth Jones, Social Media Specialist, FlexPoint Education Cloud

The AASA logo in a convention center


A few weeks ago, I attended AASA’s National Conference on Education—two jam-packed days of education leadership breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, and more. As I walked around the San Diego Convention Center, the passion I saw from superintendents and school leaders was evident as they spoke about their schools and brainstormed ideas for the future with their colleagues. There was an overwhelming sense of optimism and excitement as they shared their unique stories and solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges in education.

Continue reading to explore three of the biggest topics at #NCE2024, and how school and district leaders across the country are approaching them.

1) Say Goodbye to 'College-Ready' and Hello to 'Future-Ready'

In a recent survey by the research organization Intelligent, an alarming 58% of business leaders agreed that recent college graduates are unprepared for the workforce. This highlights a growing concern among school leaders and employers alike about students’ readiness to enter today’s evolving workforce. To address this, superintendents are taking proactive steps to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for future success.

Bill Daggett, Successful Practices Network speaking on Defining and Developing a
Bill Daggett, Successful Practices Network, speaking on Defining and Developing a "Future Driven" School Culture.

Key Takeaways:

Establish a clear vision for what students should achieve by the time they graduate.

  • School districts across the country are reimagining what success looks like for students by outlining the broader skills and qualities students should be equipped with to thrive in today’s workforce. In some districts, this vision is referred to as a “Portrait of a Graduate.”

Reimagine assessments to ensure students can apply their skills and knowledge.

  • Districts are exploring alternative assessment methods to challenge students’ ability to apply their knowledge to real-world concepts across all subject areas.

Enhance Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs through community partnerships.

  • To prepare students for the workforce, districts are partnering with local businesses and organizations to provide students with hands-on learning experiences.

2) AI is Here to Stay. What's Next?

Artificial intelligence was one of the most talked about topics at #NCE2024. During the conference, I had the opportunity to listen to thought leaders as they shared advice about how fellow superintendents can stay at the forefront of AI in education.

Leslie Torres Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools speaking on how districts can ethically leverage AI on social platforms to avoid disinformation and detect harmful content at the AASA Conference.
Leslie Torres Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, speaking on how districts can ethically leverage AI on social platforms to avoid disinformation and detect harmful content at the AASA Conference.

Key Takeaways:

Invest in AI literacy for leadership.

  • Pursue professional development opportunities that deepen district leadership's understanding of AI concepts and applications to make informed decisions about AI integrations.

Seek out early-adopters among educators in your district.

  • Identify and support educators who are enthusiastic about AI in the classroom. By empowering early-adopters, superintendents can foster a network of ambassadors to share their knowledge with others.

Ensure all stakeholders are at the table.

  • By taking an inclusive approach when considering AI-related policies and guidelines, superintendents can promote transparency and avoid digital exclusivity.

3) Reimagining What Engagement Looks Like in the Community

Schools serve as the heart of our communities, weaving the threads of connection that are essential to student success and our communities as a whole. Now, more than ever, superintendents are spearheading initiatives to increase community engagement, recognizing that partnerships with parents, local businesses, and the media are a crucial part of students' education.

Life-Ready and Future-Focused presentation at AASA with Brian Troop, Superintendent of Ephrata Area School District.
Life-Ready and Future-Focused presentation at AASA with Brian Troop, Superintendent of Ephrata Area School District.

Key Takeaways:

Build partnerships with parents.

  • By creating more opportunities for parent involvement, districts can foster a supportive learning environment for all students. For example, one district said they provide additional support for Spanish-speaking families, including social media channels in English and Spanish to ensure parents are informed on all district-wide communications.

Forge connections with local businesses.

  • By collaborating with local businesses for spirit night, contests, and career exploration initiatives, superintendents are enriching students' education through strong connections within their communities. One district is partnering with a local coffee shop to showcase students' artwork on coffee sleeves.

Seek out advocates in your community.

  • Connect with community leaders, elected officials, organizations, and the media to cultivate positive relationships. Additionally, collaborate with other education leaders in the state to collectively advance goals and address shared challenges.

We hope these insights inspire new ideas for the work you do in your community! If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your school or district with challenges you’re facing - like teacher shortages or funding concerns - contact us today!