Guest Blog from Tyson Ledgerwood of New Mexico’s Public Education Department. These are Tyson’s thoughts and observations about the NMOST 2022 Fall into Place Conference held during the week of October 17, 2022.
The conference began with Renata lifting her coffee mug to the field as the Lt. Governor expressed his continued stalwart commitment to supporting out-of-school time. May, Jeff, and Sarah were a steady calm presence throughout the conference. Even when folks had more content than time, May offered to invite them to upcoming listening sessions and leadership institute to speak. It was nice to spotlight 21st CCLC hitting an exciting milestone of outcomes in academic achievement, student engagement, and a significant rally in participation in one school year, leading the way for smaller capacity sites. Hearing Holly’s story of taking care of students throughout the Española Valley who experience food insecurity is again a credit to her profession, acknowledging the hard work it takes to run a 21st CCLC Team, but it does produce some great results.
Fabian spotlighted the issue of bullying, what creates bullies, and the lasting impact of being bullied was poignant. The message was clear, “Hurting People Hurt People” without missing the glimmer of hope that “Healed People Heal People.” It connected intuitively to Patricia’s “Safety after 3 pm” harrowing account at one of her sites and learning the “rescue breath” from the professional who trains folks in combat. Finally, the “Infinite Mindset” message with Ken Jackson was perfect for the moment, encouraging everyone to create a “stop-start-continue” Action Plan. It was a powerful positive message grounded around reflection and encouragement of not worrying about looking like “not an expert on a horse” and shifting your focus into massive action of a real grind.
Tyson’s Breakout Sessions
The plethora of breakout sessions gave folks various topics to choose from, like learning to “dance with others” in communication regarding sustaining a caring school culture with Amy Speidel or mastery of significant partnerships with the community from Wanda and her 21st CCLC Team. The big idea surfaced to focus on the best part of collaboration so you can take on the challenges together. Remembering it is “not about our words but our calm.” It was good to listen in on some of the Restorative Justice discussion from one of our PED superstars – Emma Green. And finally, seeing through a lens of an Entrepreneurial Mindset on the last day was a refreshing experience. The VentureLab and YEI (Young Entrepreneurs Institute) teams gave out “persistence and grit” and “resourceful” stickers from their mind map as people explained their rough prototypes around conglomerating two items. Like light bulbs and beauty products, where of course, the team asked me to pitch that idea to the sounds of much laughter. It was encouraging to see that caring, creative professionals in the out-of-school time space are as resilient as ever and poised for the next adventure of the school year 2022-23 and beyond. Deep rescue breathes; we got this!