Last Thursday through Saturday Superintendents and Board Members from across California gathered for the annual CSBA conference in scenic San Francisco. According to Efrain Gusar of Fresno County Superintendent of Schools the conference is “an amazing opportunity to network and collaborate with others on the same mission for student achievement” and that spirit for the event could not be dulled by the less than stunning weather (can’t wait for that sunny San Diego next year).

In true IMAGO fashion, we attended this conference for the first time with the intent of learning as much as possible #lifelonglearning and we definitely learned a few pretty important things. For example, we learned that if you offer a free sharpie people will flock in droves to the booth that sticks out like a sore thumb. We also learned that people love Yahtzee, courtesy of our friends at HMC architects, or maybe they REALLY love wine...

You’re probably saying “umm, yeah, we know people love free things, especially wine, what’s something you learned that you weren’t expecting?” Well, dear reader, I will share now that I know you are so interested!

If you remember stopping by our booth, you probably remember me (Seen above on the left of Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson) asking you to answer a question or two for our informal survey. On Thursday we asked our participants how important they felt the concepts of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making were to be college and career ready. We asked everyone to rate the importance from 1 to 5, five being extremely important, and the overwhelming majority of the people asked gave it a five out of five.

The next day we asked people a follow-up question on how comfortable they believed the teachers in their district felt in teaching skills in these areas. What we found is that 40% of board members and superintendents feel positive about this, while the majority of the respondents feel right in the middle or less confident.

To me, this presents an amazing opportunity for continued exploration. As with most informal surveys now our task is two-fold. First, we need to get more info and poll more people, which we will. And second, we need to better understand the reason the majority of people asked feel there is room for improvement. To quote Emile Durkheim “There is, then, nothing to be gained in minimizing the magnitude of the task on which we are working, under the pretext of reassuring ourselves.[...] It is worthier and more profitable to face up to the difficulties, which inevitably accompany such a great change.” We are looking forward to striving towards that understanding and look forward to connecting to the leaders in thought and practice who are striving towards that great and noble goal.