There is preliminary work being done to organize this new conference and write a new conference constitution and bylaws. We are also looking for creative ideas for a new name for the conference, so if anyone has a great idea, please let me know. Of course, with any change such as this there are both positives and negatives that come with restructuring. One negative may be slightly increased travel, but this will likely be minimized by having two divisions in the large conference. There are also challenges in finding solutions to how to organize the very large conference for various sports when many different perspectives exist. We also feel there are some potential positives, or opportunities to learn from and adopt the best of what our new members have done. In our initial discussions, we feel we can improve our conferences focus on music and the arts. For example, the five teams coming to us from the Olympian conference have run a conference art show that has been rather successful. We also think the larger conference will increase the level of competition in many of our sports and that will be a considerable positive outcome. Some sports that have a lower number of schools participating—such as softball or wrestling—will be most significantly improved from a competition perspective with a larger conference.
One area that is getting particular attention as we organize the new conference is to place greater emphasis on how the conference can play a bigger role collaboratively in supporting the efforts of each school to improve student learning. Because we are a conference of small schools in which many of our teachers don’t have colleagues who teach the same classes as we do, we see significant opportunities in having conference structures that would allow chemistry teachers, for example, to form teams to share ideas and learn from one another. In big schools, where there may be 2-4 chemistry teachers, or Freshmen English teachers, etc., that support is very likely right next door, but in small schools it is lacking. We also see some opportunities around shared professional development and other learning focused partnerships within the conference.
While none of these changes will occur next year, I wanted to provide a little background on the changes to the conference that will occur in the ‘15-’16 school year. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call and I will do the best I can to provide answers.
Have a great week,