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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sue Chapman

Recharge Your Positivity Ratio at the Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

What will you do this summer to set yourself up for a great 2023-2024 school year? According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a research psychologist from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, we position ourselves to flourish when we choose to experience the emotions of joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, awe, inspiration, and love. Dr. Fredrickson’s research shows that these ten positive emotions change how our minds work and can, therefore, transform our futures. According to Dr. Fredrickson, “Positivity can uniquely revitalize your worldview, your mental energy, your relationships, and your potential” (2009, p. 14).

With the Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference just weeks away, I’ve been visiting with LFTX friends about preparations for this year’s conference and memories of past conferences. Their stories vividly illustrate these ten energizing emotions, and I realized that the LFTX Conference immerses educators in positivity and offers educators a chance to recharge their positivity ratios. You’ll find these reflections, as well as suggestions for making the most of your Conference experience, below.

The LFTX Conference sparks JOY!

  • Attending the LFTX Conference brings me joy because it allows me to network and learn from top professional learning educators. ~ Nicole Zwahr, Director of Professional Learning

  • The LFTX annual conference sparks joy in me as I gather with like-minded educators to explore professional learning practices in support of students. The collaboration and connection make me feel positive and uplifted! ~ Jana Claxton, Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction

The LFTX Conference sparks AWE!

  • I am always in awe when I come to an LFTX Conference because every presenter there is focused on supporting teachers in practicing their craft and ensuring that professional learning is job-embedded and standards-based. Some of the best quality learning designs will be presented at this conference, and I come back with so many ideas and new learning! In addition, I get to be around like-minded educators who are passionate about supporting teachers. LFTX is one of the best learning organizations around! ~ Dr. Mina Schnitta, Assistant Superintendent, Teaching & Learning

Six Ways You’ll Benefit from Attending the Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference

  • Tap into the expertise of respected education thought leaders.

  • Learn from practitioners who have successfully tackled the same challenges you face.

  • Gain fresh perspectives and new insights. Learn about just-out research and promising developments related to leadership, coaching, new teacher support, culture building, and professional learning.

  • Inform your strategic planning for the upcoming school year.

  • Grow your network of colleagues and thinking partners.

  • Re-energize your passions. Re-fuel your personal efficacy and agency. Recommit to your “why.”

The LFTX Conference sparks HOPE!

  • Each year I look forward to connecting with other educators from across the state to share and learn new ideas. Listening to the innovative and inspiring ways my fellow educators are making a difference in the lives of teachers and students fills me with hope for our profession. ~ Arden McLean, Professional Learning Specialist

  • The LFTX conference has sparked many emotions for me as a participant, colleague and board member. However, my favorite thing was the hope I saw in everyone's eyes last year as we came back to in-person learning. It was pure joy to watch as participants reconnected with friends. You could see the much-needed spark of hope as we all looked towards a refresh for the new year ahead. ~ Shelly Crofford, Manager of Talent Management, Higher Ed

The LFTX Conference sparks PRIDE!

  • The LFTX Conference instills pride in me for our profession and each other because we come together to celebrate learning and the impact we have on our students. I always leave grateful that I chose a profession that creates and embeds so much passion for learning and making a difference in the lives of children and the world. ~ Terri Iles, Professional Learning Consultant

  • When I think about my experiences at LFTX, it gives me great pride to be a part of such a great organization and wonderful conference. I have witnessed firsthand the pride educators bring with them as they come to learn and share with others. As the challenges of the profession mount around us, the pride in the work we do as educators can be the foundation that keeps us striving to improve ourselves and others. ~ Robert Thornell, Author, and Leadership Consultant

  • Every year that I attend the LFTX conference, I feel such pride in the commitment to high-quality professional learning. Every session models effective strategies, and I ALWAYS come away with new learning I can use immediately. ~ Diana Ely, Executive Director, Teaching and Learning

The LFTX Conference sparks GRATITUDE!

  • Truly, I look forward to the Learning Forward Texas annual conference more than any other I attend because I know I will experience quality learning sessions that are relevant to my learning! More importantly, the LFTX family of learners are leaders that come from regions across the state of Texas who are willing to share their practices for the ultimate benefit of all students in our great state. For that I am so very grateful! ~ Trish Hinze, LFTX Consultant and Trainer

  • It is such a blessing to come alongside others who are passionate about learning and teaching. It fills my bucket! Nothing fancy, but I am so grateful for the friendships I have made through Learning Forward Texas and how these special people have impacted my life, both professionally and personally. ~ Karen Nix, Professional Learning Consultant

The LFTX Conference sparks AMUSEMENT!

  • The “Recess” at last year’s LFTX conference was so much fun! As a result of our experience, our team now includes a recess with meaningful SEL components in each major PD day we plan! ~ Bianca Sulaica, Instructional Support Teacher, Middle School Social Studies

All Learners Need Recess

What role do fun and amusement have in learning? Professional learning experts Elena Aguilar and Lori Cohen tell us that “being silly and feeling joy can prime us for deeper learning” (2022).

A unique feature of the Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference is the opportunity for attendees to participate in “recess” in between sessions. Play games and enjoy an ice cream treat together with old and new LFTX friends. Research shows that movement and laughter support learning, so let’s have some fun together! We promise you a unique and memorable conference experience.

Suggestions from Janet and Vicki about Preparing for the Conference:

  1. Download the Conference app. Begin planning the sessions you want to attend. There are plenty of sessions, but it’s helpful to think ahead about the sessions you’re most interested in. With the app, you can search by strand and by speaker.

  2. Use social media to see what others are saying about the conference (#LFTX23) and to get acquainted with the conference speakers. Perhaps you want to follow keynote speaker @ToddWhitaker.

  3. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a light jacket. Don’t forget to charge your devices.

  4. Decide on your personal learning goals. You might think, “Where am I in my career right now, and what do I most want to take away from the conference?”

Check out things to do near the Conference: Traveler’s Guide to Irving, Texas

The LFTX Conference sparks SERENITY!

  • The Learning Forward Conference inspires gratitude for me because "these are my people". ~ Lori Fuller, Teaching and Learning Coordinator

Learning From Friends

Learning Forward Texas Conference Manager Janet Corder reminds us that the LFTX Conference draws a unique group of educators who support teaching and learning from a variety of roles. The Conference is a great place to learn more about these various career opportunities and to gain a broader perspective on the work that takes place across education systems.

Below is a sampling of the 100+ job titles conference registrants reported at the time of registration. Pick a couple of job titles from this list that interest you. What could you learn from these colleagues? Imagine that you find yourself seated with these educators at lunch one day during the conference. What do you want to ask them about their work? See the ideas below to jump-start your thinking.

Some Leadership Roles Represented at the Learning Forward Texas Conference

Academic Dean


Business Development Manager

Chief Learning Officer

Chief Strategy Officer

Coordinator of Innovation

Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability

Digital Learning Mentor

Director of Fed. Programs & Certification

Director of Student & Family Services

District Library Coordinator

Education Support Center

Elementary Math Coordinator

Emergent Bilingual Instructional Coach Event Manager Executive Director of Leadership Development Head of Community Human Resources Language Specialist Literacy Leader Manager of Educational Partnerships Manager of Partnerships and Outreach Professional Learning Consultant Science Instructional Coach Social Studies Coordinator Teacher Leader

Questions to Ask New and Old Conference Friends

  • What brought you to the Learning Forward Texas Conference?

  • What have you heard in your sessions so far that was a “Wow”?

  • How are you hoping to use your learning from the Conference in your work this coming year?

Questions to Ask Veteran Conference Goers

  • What’s the best part of the Learning Forward Texas Conference?

  • What advice do you have for other Conference attendees?

  • What else should I know about Learning Forward Texas?

Questions to Ask Conference Vendors

  • What problem will your product or service help me to solve?

  • Why do you believe in your product or service?

  • What’s your main message to educators who visit this vendor exhibit?

The LFTX Conference sparks INSPIRATION!

  • Attending the LFTX conference sparks inspiration because it is so amazing to be surrounded by professionals from all over the country who are passionately devoted to student and teacher learning. ~ Jennifer Vasquez, Middle School Social Studies Instructional Support Teacher

  • LFTX is a consistent source of inspiration for me as a leader through the connections I make with other state leaders in the incredible learning sessions specifically tailored for our growth. ~ Emily Countryman, Middle School Social Studies Specialist

The LFTX Conference sparks INTEREST!

  • When I think about the LFTX conference, I immediately connect the word "Interest" to those thoughts. The sessions spark an interest in ideas, through collaboration and fresh content. I leave each session with a renewed interest or new interest in content that is immediately applicable to my vocation. I am thankful for a conference that is focused on professional learning professionals so we can quench our thirst for being forever learners. ~ Monica Shallenberger, Director of Professional Learning

Learning Forward Texas Grows Education Leaders

Learning Forward Texas President Vicki Arrington and Conference Manager Janet Corder are both passionate about the opportunities Learning Forward Texas offers to educators seeking to grow as leaders. Vicki shares, “Throughout my career in education, my job title has changed many times, but I always knew I had a group of people I could fall back on for support and to develop new capabilities.” Janet recommends tapping into the Learning Forward Texas community to discover your own path forward. She says “There are so many leadership roles represented at the conference. Use the conference to meet as many different educators as possible. Learn what they do. This will help you figure out where you want to go with your career.”

Keynote Speaker: Todd Whitaker

The Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference is a powerful professional learning experience designed to help educators build their expertise and skills around education leadership, school improvement, coaching, and teacher support. Because of the unique community that exists within the LFTX organization, the Conference also immerses us in positivity so that we can reconnect with our best selves and our reasons for choosing to serve as educators. The positive emotions we experience at the conference “allow us to discover and build new skills, new ties, new knowledge, and new ways of being (Fredrickson, p. 24).

Even after positivity fades, we can find traces of its impact. Beyond the present pleasant moment, your positivity has downstream consequences for the very trajectory of your life.

~ Dr. Barbara Fredrickson

​What’s your Positivity Ratio?

You can find out with this two-minute quiz designed by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a research psychologist who has devoted her career to studying why some individuals and teams thrive and others don’t. Based on decades of study across multiple contexts, Dr. Fredrickson tells us that our positivity ratio is a key predictor of our well-being and our likelihood of flourishing. The tipping point, the minimum ratio needed to trigger an upward spiral of flourishing, is 3:1. Although many people presently have ratios below this tipping point, Dr. Fredrickson tells us we can develop mental habits which increase our positivity ratio. As we internalize the positivity habit, we set ourselves up for a rewarding and satisfying work and personal life.

Explore strategies to grow positivity as a cultural norm in your school or organization in this blog post: How to Thrive (and Help Others Thrive) in 2021-2022.

The LFTX Conference sparks LOVE!

  • The sessions and keynotes I attend at the Learning Forward Texas conference remind me of why I love my job. The learning I experience at the conference reminds me of my why. I have the privilege of helping our educators impact thousands of students each day. What's not to love! ~ Natalie Gray, Director of Professional Learning


Aguilar, E., & Cohen, L. (2022). The PD book: 7 habits that transform professional development. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Fredrickson, Barbara (2009). Positivity: Top-notch research reveals the upward spiral that will change your life. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Sue Chapman is a professional learning consultant and author of MathVentures: 33 Teacher-Coach Investigations to Grow Students as Mathematicians. Connect with Sue at and on Twitter at @SueChapmanLearn.

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