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Getting Ready for the 2018 Leadership Conference!

Big Picture Learning’s annual Leadership Conference is barely a month away! The theme of this year’s conference is Refresh and Recreate, riffing off the “Re” in Reno, a city that’s in the midst of a rebrand itself. You’ll be forgiven if, when you think of Reno, you think of a strip of campy 1970’s hotels. But a recent advance trip to “the biggest little city in the world”-- in which I learned what a wacky, beautiful and diverse city Reno really is -- got me excited for our upcoming gathering.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can go from the dark interior of a casino to the natural beauty of a river in the span of two city blocks. I discovered this on my fifteen minute walk from the Whitney Peak Hotel to Innovations High School, passing sculptures brought in from the nearby Burning Man festival along the way.
I was on my way to my first and most important meeting of our scouting trip, to sit down with four students from Innovations who took time off from their fall break to provide me and my colleague Javier a tour of the school. These four wise and energetic young women -- Sip, Ashley, Jesalynn and Sophie; along with their principal and Lead Learner, Taylor Harper -- helped push our thinking around what visiting leaders should see and do when they come to Reno in December. Spoiler alert: as a result of this important conversation with these students, you can expect to dig deep into topics related to school culture, internships, staff and student onboarding, and community advocacy.
There will be hard work, as there always is. But there will also be fun. I added a little time onto the front of my trip to visit Lake Tahoe, which is only a 45 minute drive from Reno. You might consider doing so as well. A day of downhill skiing or snowshoeing is really the best way to get ready for any conference, in my opinion!  
I don’t want to spoil all of the surprises we have in store. Let’s just say, we’ll be doing some of our best thinking at great heights, whether its on a side of a mountain or the side of a hotel. Don’t worry, David Berg and I tested everything to make sure it’s safe! Be sure to register soon if you haven't already! See you in Reno!