Folio Reflections from NAIS 2024

By Anna Feiss

During our team retreat last week, we had the opportunity to reflect on our takeaways from the NAIS Annual Conference in St. Louis. First and foremost, we came home with immense gratitude for the amazing school leaders and teachers at our member schools. At least 20 Folio member schools presented workshops on topics such as effective professional development, best practices for onboarding, teaching neurodiverse learners, and artificial intelligence in education. We are inspired by our members who are thought leaders and innovators, actively researching, discussing, and constantly improving their teaching practices.

Three key takeaways from the sessions we attended are:

  1. Recognize and utilize the talent within your school: Why not leverage faculty talent during professional development (PD) days? Consider selecting presenters based on the individual myFolio goals they set at the start of the year or sending a survey to solicit areas of expertise.
  2. Onboarding is not a one-day affair: The first-year experience of a new employee (whether positive or negative) is significantly influenced by a school’s onboarding process. Remember, onboarding is not just the first week; it begins the moment an employee is hired and continues well beyond orientation. Providing consistent check-ins and support throughout the first year will help new employees become more fully integrated into your school’s culture.
  3. Continue learning about Artificial Intelligence (AI): As educators, the world of AI is something we should continue to explore. By understanding and actively using AI in our curriculum, we’re not just keeping up with our students — we’re shaping its impact on teaching and learning. We are in a unique position to significantly influence the policies and strategies that integrate AI into our classrooms and ensure it is used in ways that are both safe and enriching for our students.

We often joke that conferences like NAIS can lead to cognitive (and social!) overload, in a positive way. One way to continue processing and learning with our vibrant Folio community is to take advantage of our additional member benefits:

  • Member webinars and workshops based on your feedback and what’s most important to you.
  • Connection in Mastermind groups for joint problem-solving.
  • Member spotlights highlighting successful myFolio implementation strategies.
  • 1:1 connections between schools for collaboration and advice. Recent topics include managing accreditation processes, discussing portrait of a graduate work, and mid-year hiring/staffing.

Thank you for your continued dedication and inspiration, and we look forward to continuing to grow with you!