Experiencing FOMO? Follow along with #ATLISignited

By Kelsea Watson posted 13 days ago


The ATLIS 2022: Ignited Annual Conference is in full swing in Orlando. Following an afternoon of pre-conference workshops on Sunday, May 1, attendees gathered for the first major reunion of independent school technologists since 2019 with a welcome reception. The positive energy among attendees was palpable as they shared laughter, visited with vendors, and already began problem-solving conversations around the challenges independent school technology leaders are facing since the last gathering. 

“All of the people I would want to turn to when I have a problem in my school are right here in this room tonight” - Jason Kern, Assistant Head of School for Innovation and Learning Officer, All Saints Episcopal School.

The conference officially kicked off on Monday morning with special recognition of the outgoing members of the ATLIS Board of Directors: Jason Ramsden, Sarah Rolle, Kevin McAllister, Jeffrey Morrison, and Jennifer Carey. In their honor, ATLIS presented a donation to the onePULSE foundation; an Orlando-based organization created in honor of the victims of the Pulse Club shooting in 2016. The foundation centers on educational opportunities through the development of a museum, a public memorial, and scholarships. Their value statement, “Don’t let hate win”, aligns with the values of ATLIS and the outgoing board members, who have poured their hearts into ATLIS to create inclusive opportunities for all. 

Richard Culatta, CEO of ISTE presented an energetic keynote presentation on Monday morning. He discussed the evolution from emergency remote learning to effective digital learning, and how technology leaders can help create positive, respectful spaces where students can thrive through technology. Richard gave pointers on working effectively with parents to comprehensively nurture the digital well-being of students. 

Here are some of the takeaways from attendees:


what kids are doing on the screen is what matters

Needed shift:
online safety is an embarrassingly low bar. we need to shift from safety to digital wellbeing.

have students be involved when drafting AUPs

Breakout sessions throughout the day were engaging, insightful, and sparked discussions that continued through coffee breaks and a networking reception on Monday evening. The vendor hall has remained an active and dynamic area throughout the conference, as vendor partners have been taking the time to have conversations with technology leaders to truly understand the needs of the community. 

Special Recognitions

A Monday luncheon included a presentation of pillar awards to Ally Wenzel, Alex Inman, and Sarah Haniwald; three individuals who have contributed immensely not only to the ATLIS community but to the advancement of the industry as a whole. During the luncheon, the graduating cohort of the ATLIS Leadership Institute was also recognized.

pillar award winners

The Tuesday morning program included a powerful and emotional recognition of Susan Davis, the ATLIS director of professional development. Susan was the second staff ever hired by ATLIS and has been the backbone of the development of ATLIS programming, including the ECATD/ ATLIS Leadership Institute program. Susan will be retiring in July and the community was grateful to gather together to celebrate and thank her for the myriad contributions she has made to the industry. 

"I can learn lots on the internet, but building relationships there is slow and uncertain. Coming in person to ATLIS every year since its inception has been a mainstay of my ability to draw on colleagues from around the country for the benefit of my school. There’s nothing that can replace meeting with experts facing similar problems at a similar scale as mine, but with different approaches to solving them. That informal conversation over dinner, that chat on the veranda, and yes, even that night at karaoke, help to solidify relationships that you’ll draw on for years to come. It’s hard to quantify thought partnership, and relationships don’t come with spec sheets. But the insights that arise out of our time at ATLIS are every bit as valuable as any training in PowerShell or MDM, and as they’re more timeless, perhaps more valuable." - Ethan Delavan, Director of Technology at The Bush School.

#ATLISignited isn’t over yet, with more breakout sessions occurring throughout the day, followed by an implementation retreat on Wednesday morning. Although there is more to come for this event, the general consensus is that it has been a huge success and the reunion that our community has anticipated for two years.

Attending #ATLISignited? Comment here about some of the things the rest of the community needs to know about what is happening here in Orlando.