Students at the UASSP Conference
Photo Courtesy Mike Owens

For the second year in a row, a group of Educational Leadership & Foundations  students attended two school leadership conferences this past winter. Mike Owens, associate professor for EdLF, says that students’ time at the conferences of the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals and the Utah Association of Elementary School Principals “was a great chance to get to know administrators in the field, to promote BYU with them, and to promote our school leadership program.”

The EdLF Department has previously provided experiential learning opportunities. However, attending local conferences provides unique opportunities to students. David Boren, assistant clinical professor for EdLF, applied for the grant that allowed students to attend the conferences the past two years He says that the conference is valuable for students because it “expands their vision for school leadership” while connecting them to other professionals.

While at the conference, students listened to speakers on subjects like trauma-informed teaching and the caring maintenance of teachers and staff. They learned about the latest research and news from current principals and administrators, gaining invaluable contacts and insights into a challenging field.

Students enjoy dinner at the UAESP Conference
Photo Courtesy David Boren

The conferences also gave students a chance to bond. The Salt Lake County and Utah County EdLF cohorts are not able to interact often. Driving together, swapping stories, and sharing meals at the conference deepened relationships, Boren says. It’s a chance to “step away from the whirlwind for a few days, connect with friends and colleagues, and refill your cup.” 

In addition to conference-related activities, students went on an outdoor excursion and visited the St. George temple together. Learning and talking in informal settings allowed them to get to know each other “better as people rather than just as students,” Owens says, and advises future students to jump at the chance to do something similar: “If you get the opportunity to attend, attend.”

Writer: Bridget Quain

Contact: Andrew Devey