Administrators share takeaways from first day of conference

Updated 10:42 a.m. to correct school districts.

School administrators gathered in Boise Wednesday for the annual IASA conference — a two-day event held to strengthen relationships and facilitate conversations and learning opportunities between school leaders as they head back to school in August.

Wednesday’s agenda included workshops on wellbeing and mental health in schools, innovative education models, and using and reporting data.

Day one brought lessons for many administrators — and homework they’ll take into the 2023-24 school year and beyond.

Here’s what some had to say:

Shawn Tiegs

Shawn Tiegs, Moscow School District Superintendent

“The most important thing is conversations with…all the other superintendents around. As a superintendent, it really is like an island sometimes. This…it’s a Mecca of connection. There are good people that are working on really hard things, but together…lots of good smiles, lots of good handshakes and lots of good conversation.”

Ryon Pope, Gooding High School Vice Principal 

“There are things that we need to do to help support students. There’ve been difficulties bouncing back from the COVID pandemic, high isolation and depression rates, there’s a lot of good information.”

Jim Foudy

Jim Foudy, Blaine County School District Superintendent

“We’re all still learning how to navigate the social emotional health of our students. Because if they’re not healthy, we’re not going to be able to reach them and teach them. And we know from the U.S. Secret Service report…that 90 to 95% of all acts of violence in school could have been prevented had somebody said something. So…when it comes to school safety, we need to emphasize prevention. Reach the kids, provide the support, do the risk assessments whenever you need to, do the threat assessments whenever you need to, document those really well, connect the family with resources — make sure that we don’t have another incident in the state of Idaho.

Angie Brulotte, Jerome School District, Jefferson Elementary Principal

Angie Brulotte

“This is a really great conference…people get some new learning and new ideas, but the more important and larger thing is the networking that’s happening. You can check in with friends and people you haven’t seen in a while, ask ‘What are you guys doing, how are you handling this, have you picked up any new interventions?’ The networking is one of the most important things about this conference…You’ve gotta learn from each other. Getting us all in the same boat, people who have your similar concerns and hurdles to overcome, it’s fun to hear what they’re doing.”

Leigh Patterson, Gooding High School Principal

“Mental health is a big issue for students and staff. We’re trying to learn new ways to cope and alleviate some of those roadblocks to help students and staff be successful.”

Sadie Dittenber

Sadie Dittenber

Reporter Sadie Dittenber focuses on K-12 policy and politics. She is a College of Idaho graduate, born and raised in the Treasure Valley. You can follow Sadie on Twitter @sadiedittenber and send her news tips at [email protected].

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