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“The healthiest response to life is joy.” – Mark Twain

This is the second version of the March Insider I have written this month. I like to get ahead of timelines, and the original version was filled with excitement as we approached the two-week countdown to the 52nd Annual Conference.  However, with the unforeseen changes over the last few weeks across the country, NCSM had to cancel its premiere mathematics leadership event in Chicago, Illinois. 

On my unexpected plane flight home Thursday, I needed time to reflect on the changes that occurred over the week, time to process the impact of cancelling NCSM’s annual conference, and time to make sense of my feelings.  On the first leg of the flight, I just started journaling my thinking.  Below is my reflection that I shared on Facebook. 

This week is going to be remembered for many reasons in the future. The news was ever changing and full of highs and lows.  However, I will remember that this week is when the NCSM board had to make an incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching decision!  I will remember the sadness of not being able to see my mathematics family and friends that I only see during the “math week” of the year. I will remember the news and the despair as I walked through a school today that was notified at noon that they would be closing for the next two weeks. There was a sense of uncertainty in the air. 

However, tonight, I want to remember something different. I want to remember the countless hours the NCSM conference committee volunteered this past year to build an exceptional conference program. I want to remember the feeling of anticipation to share the newest NCSM resources as I read the final proof of the latest book in the NCSM Essential Action Series and the newest position statement on Detracking. I want to remember the excitement on social media as the speakers were posting their “I am a speaker” badge.  I want to remember the sponsors and exhibitors that continue to support NCSM.  I want to remember the passion and energy of the volunteers that lead this organization.  

I will not pretend that the last few weeks were a walk in the park. However, tonight I choose to remember the joy!

We all need time to process how we are feeling with the events of the world and their effect on our daily lives.  In that reflection, while there is disappointment with not being able to convene at the annual conference, let’s also remember the joy.  Let’s celebrate the work of the NCSM conference committee and Program Chair.  They dedicated countless hours to put together a program to ensure mathematics leaders could Connect. Collaborate and Commit to increased student learning.  Let’s appreciate the speakers willingness to share their expertise for the betterment of the mathematics leadership community. Let’s thank the NCSM board and volunteers who worked diligently on the NCSM initiatives and projects to unveil  at the annual conference.  Let’s acknowledge and celebrate our beloved sponsors who gave freely of their resources to support the mathematics leadership community. 

Thinking of all of the people and sponsors who worked so tirelessly to create an incredible annual conference are the thoughts that bring a smile to my face. Thinking of those of you coming to attend and contribute to NCSM’s mathematics leadership network brings me joy. Thank you to each and every one of you for your work in the past and your continued work in the future – for being bold as you grow the mathematics learning of students. The quote from Mark Twain resonated with me as I sat down to write my this NCSM Insider and I hope it will inspire you too. 

How will you choose joy in the next few weeks?