What. A. Week!
Going into AASA NCE 2023 this year, Right At School really embraced the conference theme of “Live Well, Lead Well.” Our goal was to make this year’s experience the best it can be for everyone we connected with. We lived, led, and learned together throughout the week, and all of the conversations and experiences we had left us feeling so inspired about our collective work to support students, schools, and families.
If you weren’t able to make it to NCE this year, or just want to relive some of the fun, here are some highlights from our wonderful week at NCE:
Leading Together to Better Support Students
On Thursday afternoon, VP of Educational Affairs Dr. Dawn Bridges led a panel discussion on collaborative leadership with some incredible superintendents and education leaders from across the country. Panelists and those in attendance discussed the many challenges facing districts today, the importance of a holistic approach to student support, and the need for building strong partnerships that connect school, home, and community.
Celebrating Education Leaders at Casa Rio
On Friday night, Right At School held an evening of food, fun, and entertainment for education leaders, and it was standing room only at Casa Rio. One of our values here at RAS, is “Locally-Inspired.” Wherever we go we want to become a part of the community. It is how we get to know our students’ and families’ individual needs and learning styles, and how we build engaged communities of learners and friends. And when we travel for conferences and events, we bring our “locally-inspired” value with us! Which led us to choosing Casa Rio for the location of our event. Casa Rio was the first business in San Antonio to open its doors to the river and take advantage of the beautiful setting. River tours, canoes, dinner boats, and more all began there helping to create the riverwalk you know and love today!
Partnering with Morgan’s Wonderland to Support Play for Every Child
During our main event on Friday night, we teamed up with an incredible organization to raise money to provide inclusive, accessible, and joyful experiences for children. Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio is the world’s first theme park designed with individuals with special needs in mind, and their mission is to “provide an extraordinary place where smiles and laughter lead to wonderful memories with family members, friends, and caregivers.”
Program Director at Morgan’s Inclusion Initiative Sharon Newhardt represented Morgan’s Wonderland at the event, and she was joined by our own Quality and Inclusion Manager Brenna Pirozok. Over $2000 was raised for Morgan’s Wonderland over the course of the evening.
“As a representative of an organization so dedicated to creating inclusive environments (RAS), it is always inspiring and heartwarming seeing other organizations with similar foundational principles,” Brenna said, reflecting on the event. “However, this partnership also had me thinking how far we still have to go as a society to create equitable, inclusive, and accessible environments that truly cater to the many forms of diversity in our world. Unfortunately, we are still advocating for basic care needs in many places: accessibility in public buildings, representation in common spaces, and shattering stigma associated with disability.
Morgan’s Wonderland gives a refreshing and important reminder of hope and dedication to serving marginalized communities and asking ourselves “what can we do better to make a difference?” Not only does this company emulate a wonderful model of how inclusive services can be provided in any environment, but they pave the way in regards to innovative representation; a concept we can all learn and grow from.”
You can learn more about Morgan’s Wonderland, Morgan’s Inclusion Initiative, and how you can support their work at https://morganswonderland.com.
Making the Right At School Booth the Place to Be All Week
Our team always brings the fun at our NCE booth, and this year we set a new standard. Every Right At School program is a place for kids to be kids, and we always strive to stay connected to the kid in all of us. This year’s booth had games, giveaways, and a team of enthusiastic RASers who made our booth an oasis of fun for everyone who stopped by.
As we packed up and headed back home, we left both thankful for the experience, and inspired for the work we will do together in 2023 and beyond.