Summer Dialogue scholarship recipients
(L-R) Dane Wiskow, Jamie Dickerson, Bailey Cords, Kryston Wisely, and Spencer Gillian

Jamie Dickerson

Red Rock Central Public Schools

The ACDA Summer Dialogue was an awesome experience for me as I head into my second year as a teacher. It was not just about making connections with colleagues, but it’s been a big help with my move to Minnesota. Being able to chat and swap stories from my first year and realizing I wasn’t alone in facing certain challenges was a real comfort; it made me feel more down-to-earth and less like I was losing my mind dealing with some of the struggles I had with my students.

One of the highlights for sure was getting to sing alongside some real pros during the event. While my students are great, belting it out with these professionals was a totally unique and inspiring experience. It hammered home the idea that learning never stops, whether you’re a teacher or a musician.

As I gear up for the upcoming school year, I feel re-energized and inspired, thanks to the Summer Dialogue. My goal for this year is to make my classroom a place where open conversations and fearless exploration are encouraged, all fueled by the inspiration and good vibes I got from the ACDA. I’m pretty sure the stuff I learned and the connections I made will keep shaping my teaching journey in a positive way. I can’t wait to go again next year!

Kryston Wisely

Forestview Middle School, Brainerd, MN

Attending the 2023 ACDA Summer Dialogue was truly a blast and an honor! It was refreshing to spend 3 days with choral educators who have the same passion! We were one big family and everyone was welcoming of each other and what we had to add. I was no longer, “the new teacher,” instead we were colleagues. We all had something to learn from each other and things we loved to share!

My favorite conversations were the hard ones. Because we all have the same or similar mission, to teach and create quality music, we are able to talk about the hard stuff in choral music.  What makes our jobs so special is that we get to have those deep conversations through our curriculum. Navigating that is a challenge but frequently rewarding. The connections we make through sharing our experiences will stick with me through my educational career.

I loved learning through watching our colleagues conduct the group as we rehearsed the music for our concert for the All-State Students. The moment that replays in my head, however, was during our concert for the All-State Singers. Singing in a live space is always magical. Let Music Fill The Air was a great song to sing in that space. It provided a cathartic singing experience for the directors and we rooted on our colleague who was directing us. The passion we shared in singing that song in that space was evident in the engagement of the students who were enthralled by what we were doing. I looked out to the front rows of students as we sang the last lines of the song to see students with their jaws dropped listening to sound fill the room. It reminds me, as if we don’t all know already, the reasons why we teach music. When music fills our students with such passion, we know it is all worth it!

I am forever grateful that my first experience at ACDA Summer Dialogue was this one. I am so excited for more ACDA events with my middle school students! We are all Space Unicorns, delivering our rainbows all around the world with our marshmallow lasers! (See Space Unicorn, Parry Gripp and Andy Beck)

Signed with a thousand thank yous!
Kryston Wiseley