by Dr. Abigayle Barton, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Welcome back!  It is hard to believe that the first three weeks of school are already complete!  The start of each school year brings with it many “beginning of the year” activities.  As I reflect on the start of this year and our district theme focused on leading, I could not help but think about August 18th, which was the day of Abilene ISD’s very first home-grown conference.

Considering the AISD logo, “Connect, Lead, Succeed,” the focus of the conference this year was on leadership. The “Lead Out Loud” conference brought together all instructional staff to learn from a variety of campus, district and community leaders. We are so grateful that so many leaders were willing to share their talents on this day of professional learning.

When asked about the Lead Out Loud Conference, one teacher shared, “I was skeptical that this conference would work and that this conference would be valuable. I was so very wrong. I had a great day, and I came away from the conference energized and excited about teaching.”  This was a common sentiment expressed by many AISD staff.

While leadership was a major theme of the conference and was offered as a strand woven throughout the day, additional conference strands included core content, elective content, technology, instructional strategies, and fun and wellness. The variety of session options provided many opportunities for attendees to select areas of study that best met their individual interests and needs.

Feedback received on the day was overwhelmingly positive with much emphasis on the opportunities for collaboration and choices offered throughout the day.  “It was great to glean from coworkers’ gifts and talents,” said one AISD teacher.  “I truly enjoyed the opportunity to see my peers share their expertise.  It was fun to spend time in workshop with members of various groups with whom I rarely get to mingle,” said another.

Interesting Lead Out Loud Conference Facts:

  • About 1600 faculty and staff attended the LOL conference
  • Almost 400 sessions were offered throughout the day.
  • Over 40 community speakers shared their gifts and talents and led sessions.
  • 85 classroom teachers and all AISD administrators shared their expertise and led sessions.
  • Over 7,200 hours of continuing professional development credit was earned on this day.

I sincerely hope the Lead Out Loud Conference was meaningful for you and helped to energize you for the new school year.  The 2017-2018 school year has begun with great promise of even greater accomplishments for Abilene ISD.  I look forward to another great year and am so proud to be a part of the AISD team as we work, learn, and lead together.