Proposed Network Conference

International School Leadership Development Network (ISLDN)

Network Conference Proposal

Drafted by Pam Angelle, The University of Tennessee

Jami Royal Berry, Georgia State University

Ian Potter, Bay House Academy


The Conceptualization for a Network Conference:

In addition to their attendance at their sponsor conferences (BELMAS and UCEA) the ISDLN group aims to organize an occasion that will enable deep and collaborative analysis of the data it has collected.

The rationale for bringing this learning community together is to facilitate a dialogue and reflection that is deeper and more intense than can be achieved through time constrained meetings at annual conferences or through digital media forums.

The proposed commitment will be for three days in January or February so as to fall between the BELMAS and UCEA annual conferences.  The proposed annual conference will alternate locations between ISLDN member organizations in the U.S. and the U.K. with the first event to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, at Georgia State University, on January 17-19, 2014, and the second event to be tentatively held in Hampshire, England, in early 2015.  The program will include visits to schools and the use of technology to communicate with colleagues in another hemisphere who cannot attend. Hence, the selected venue must have the facility to do this.

The proposed format will be for an academic to be accompanied by a practitioner in order to enrich the quality of analysis and discussion.

Accessibility will be a fundamental principle underpinning the organization of this conference, and so in accordance with the equality paradigm in which our research is located, we must keep the operating costs to an absolute minimum.

The proposal is for BELMAS and UCEA to initiate a project fund to help cover elements of the conference as indicated below. The host institution will provide space and meals as outlined below. Members of the network will look to their own institutions to offer additional contributions to the fund by way of subsidies for travel for both the attending academic and practitioner.  The only cost to participants is travel and Saturday dinner.

Proposed Network Conference Program:

Day 1 – Friday

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.                School tour

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.                        Lunch (provided by host organization)

1:00 – 3:00 p.m.                           Group meeting of entire network for school tour discussion and general overview

3:00 – 4:30 p.m.                           Breakout meetings of Social Justice and High Needs Schools Groups

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.                           International Dinner and Showcase Performance (provided by host faculty/practitioners with local school group performance)

 Day 2 – Saturday

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.               Breakout meetings of Social Justice and High Needs Schools Groups

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.                         Lunch (provided by host organization)

1:00 – 4:00 p.m.                           Breakout meetings of Social Justice and High Needs Schools Groups

6:00 p.m.                                         Dutch Treat Dinner – Individuals pay                                                                     their own way at a local restaurant.


Day 3 – Sunday

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.               Breakout meetings of Social Justice and High Needs Schools Groups

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.                         Lunch (provided by host organization)

1:00 – 3:00 p.m.                           Breakout meetings of Social Justice and High Needs Schools Groups

 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.                           Group Meeting of Entire Network for Follow-up

6:00 – 8:30 p.m.                           Social Hour (provided by host organization and attended by local faculty/educators to include a traveling tables exercise)

 Proposed Cost to Sponsor Organizations (BELMAS and UCEA):

Based on 16 participants:

Van costs for school tours                                                                     $600.00

(2 10-person vans for two days)

 Hotel for participants                                                                             2880.00

(based on 8 rooms at $120

 double occupancy for three nights)

 Total Estimated Cost                                                                             $3480.00

 Proposed Cost to Event Host:

Based on 16 participants:

Space                                                                                                                        N/A

3 days lunches (at $10 each)                                                               480.00

3 days break food (snacks)                                                                   300.00

Sunday night Social Hour hors d’oeuvres                                       500.00

Total Estimated Cost                                                                             $1280.00

 Proposed Cost to Individual:


Saturday dinner

Additional nights hotel as needed


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3 Responses to Proposed Network Conference

  1. Katarina Norberg says:

    Dear all,
    Thank you Pam, Ian and Jami for an impressing proposal! It looks very interesting but it also raises some issues we would like to reflect on.
    We would like to discuss in what pace we will run the project. Are we supposed to meet three times a year – BELMAS; UCEA and a special meeting? Can we expect a smaller group visiting all meetings and some just visiting one meeting/year depending on their time and resources? How will that affect the project and its outcomes – pro and cons?
    We agree that it would be good with a meeting that provides time to deeply discuss several issues but we think it is too early to invite principals and visit schools in this phase.
    We will also like to first have one work meeting and evaluate that before we decide how to proceed with coming project meetings.
    Our main problem is not the funding – it is the time. We are unsure if we are able to come in January and would rather postpone the meeting close upon AERA. That would save us and other who will attend a trip over seas.
    We really appreciate the initiative and your proposal but hope we can continue this discussion at UCEA.
    Best regards, the Swedish team
    Katarina, Helene and Olof

    • Pam Angelle says:

      I certainly respect what our Swedish friends are saying. Time and money always seem to be a concern in higher education. However, the submitted proposal was written in response to discussions at BELMAS to meet together removed from the business meetings attached to UCEA, AERA, BELMAS, etc. At the end of each meeting at each conference, concerns are repeated that we never have time for ‘us’ because we are making business decisions. We should consider that we are now situating our research in the local and national contextual framework. For that reason, viewing schools in context, speaking with principals who work in those contexts is important for everyone to understand as we each view our own data. My hope is that if these first two meetings are attended and productive that Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, Israel, and others may consider inviting us to understand their contexts as well. As we consider how we will merge and move our projects forward, including our principal partners in the discussions will inform us on how we might do that. Conversations with school leaders from other countries will enrich our research. If we bound ourselves in data collection in our home country and only study perceptions of our principals and our schools, we are limiting ourselves in knowledge and understandings. Having said that, time and money are a continuous concern. I, for one, will likely be unable to attend AERA for the next few years due to university limitations on funds. We can’t all attend all the meetings we would like to attend. Thus, the question about whether some only attending some meetings happens now. Not everyone is at every meeting where discussions take place. So we hoped that having a singular meeting just for the research team could be a pivotal gathering over a weekend, limiting time away from work and ideally subsidized by our sponsors. Like Ian, these are only my thoughts and I am not speaking for the committee that wrote the proposal. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this and look forward to continuing our dialogue.

  2. Ian Potter says:

    Thank you Katarina, Helene and Olaf for your thoughtful reflections. Your points are all very important ones and this response is entirely my thoughts, and not a collective response.

    There appeared a consensus of feeling, that I recall, at the meeting at BELMAS, that we needed to organise time for a deeper look at the data already collected and that two days of concentrated study would be really valuable. There was a thought that if visits to schools could be tagged-on as a third day, it would make it pretty inspiring. Otherwise, people could just attend fo rthe weekend activities.

    A key issue was that it was at a weekend so that it made it more realistic to attend and not miss too much of the ‘day job’. And, that it would happen one year in the UK (home of BELMAS) and the other in USA (home of UCEA). Hence, one ought to think of it being a two year commitment.

    We could, as you suggest, when it is in the USA attach it to AERA or UCEA, and, I assume, when in Britain attach it to BELMAS or BERA – but that would be counter to the idea of it being a “quick” event, over a weekend, that people ‘flew’ in and out for. Seeing it as a two year commitment means that those involved all only cross the Atalntic Ocean once in the two years.

    I think the whole ISLDN project is developing on several fronts already, as we saw at ECER, and that is something we will need to learn to cope with and coordinate – but makes it an expanding community of practice for knowledge production. Therefore, I am relaxed about this seeming like a ‘third’ meeting because in reality there is already a profiliation of ‘meetings’ if ECER, and CCEAM and AERA are seen as such.

    Particpants will never be able to be at all meetings. It would be good to get a sense of how many could get involved in the proposed ‘Atlanta/Hampshire’ project should it go ahead. I realise that if it does go ahead at the times that we have proposed, some will not be able to make it, but I think we are unlikely to find a time when that would not be the case.

    Thanks again for your engagement in starting a constructive dialogue. I trust others will share their thoughts and views.

    Best wishes


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