Reflections From ESEA


March 03, 2022 | Leah Claflin |


After weeks of preparation and anticipation, the Speak Agent Team packed our bags and headed to New Orleans for the 2022 ESEA Annual Conference. After only meeting educators virtually for so long, it was refreshing to meet and chat in person. We hosted a session, showcased our platform to attendees at the booth, and got to know other exhibitors whose missions align with our own. It was an honor to be among so many other people who want to help students succeed on their academic journey. We had many highlights during our brief time together, but we’ve picked out a few memories that we’d like to share, including this preview video of our session!

HubSpot Video

Check out the full session recording here!

Equity  InstagramOur VP of Sales, Charles Askew, reflected, “After years of working remotely, I was happy to have in-person contact with educators.  It seemed like everyone had emerged from hibernation and is hungry to help our young people.  I was moved by the pandemic stories of survival, endurance, and commitment.  I learned that among our schools' educators lived today's headlines: critical teacher shortages - hungry students - interrupted learning.  I met the faces of those headlines; we shook hands, we broke bread. We agreed to keep serving the young people and families in our community.”  

Quote from ESEA

Equity  Instagram (1)-1Our Speak Agent Educational Consultant, Michael Huckaby, found “ESEA to be very rewarding. The conference exceeded my expectations. I discovered that our reach goes wider with conversations not only to ELL or Curriculum, but it's also an essential collaboration with Title 1 and Title 3 Directors. I was pleased with how we all tag-teamed working together at the booth and during the session. I found that a district partner and I had existing connections that surrounded me with a community of learners. By connecting with attendees, I discovered that we have so much in common. For example, a partner's father was a tenured professor where my mother graduated from college at Central State University.”

Picture of Speak Agent Michael at ESEA conference

 

Equity  Instagram (2)Equity  Instagram (3)Leah Claflin, Speak Agent’s Marketing Manager and newest team member shared her favorite memories from ESEA. “I had so much fun connecting with the team. I got to learn firsthand what educators and students face every day. We had meaningful conversations around challenges and successes, the future of pedagogy, and barriers left to overcome. I’m left with such a feeling of excitement being around so many dedicated to helping today’s learners thrive.”


Equity  Instagram (3)"This was my first real trip since NABE in February 2020 in Las Vegas, and I was very apprehensive about traveling. I was pleasantly surprised by how seriously people are still taking this at the New Orleans Convention Center and throughout the city. Thank you, New Orleans!

It was interesting to see how engaged the attendees were throughout the event. We had so many great conversations about language and learning and how it impacts student performance. Educators were very comfortable discussing the numerous challenges they faced daily with their multilingual learners and all their students. They know their students' learning deficits and are very motivated to solve them. It's always inspiring to speak with them and provide solutions that can help all their students.

Picture of Mike and Charles at ESEA

Educators shared with us the need for ENGAGING tools for their students. Some districts told us that they had seen as much as a 25% decline in ML students showing up for school. We heard that efficacy needs to go hand-in-hand with engagement and that many of the solutions they have been using are being opted-out by the students.

While providing language tools was a high priority on most people’s lists, they also needed to know how this would impact their teachers’ time. District level coordinators told us about the extensive hours teachers are still putting in to develop lessons and materials, leading to even more burnout. Our solution that takes things away from educators' administrative duties was met equally with praise from educators and district-level coordinators."

ben_headshot_coaching_135x135I truly enjoyed meeting amazing educators and administrators from across the USA in NOLA! It was awe-inspiring to see, despite all of the challenges of the past two years, thousands of committed people focused entirely on how to raise up their learners, educators, and communities. I encountered many educators and administrators seeking innovative, proven strategies and best practices for addressing the challenges of unfinished learning for marginalized learners. Everyone faces a unique situation in their district, and I was struck by the time and thought that they were willing to invest in carefully crafting a multi-year strategy that would work for their community. My takeaway is that education technologists such as my team need to be there to listen, co-develop long-term strategies with districts, and support them as partners throughout implementation and iterative improvement. Because this will be a multiple years-long process to address the trauma and the unfinished learning, it's going to be a marathon, not a race, and we all have to help each other along the way.

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The Speak Agent team came back to work full of ideas and excitement. We loved having the chance to connect with our education partners, new friends, and as a team. We got to meet teachers whose students have achieved success using our platform and others we can help in the future. Together, we all had candid conversations about real issues in the classroom and our communities. We came together as an education community around a shared passion for empowering learners. Here at Speak Agent, were counting the days until we can do it again and see everyone next year at #ESEA2023

 

HubSpot Video

 

 

Leah Claflin

Written by Leah Claflin

Leah Claflin is an experienced EdTech marketing and communications professional with a passion for accelerating learning and serving K-12 educator communities. She has worked as a marketing consultant in her home state of Minnesota, where she lives with her husband Charlie and Cat, Lucy. Leah loves spending time outdoors, reading, writing, and landscape photography. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts and was a finalist for the 2020 "Boston in 100 words" competition.