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November/December 2015

Ask the Staff:
What's new at this year's Joint Annual Conference?
by James Russell

James Russell, IASB associate executive director of communications, answers the question for this issue.

Whether you are an experienced board member or are attending the Conference for the very first time, you will always find new people, new activities, and new professional development opportunities.

With more than 1,300 newly elected school board members, this year’s Conference will welcome many new faces. Some will come with their Conference Planner and an agenda packed full of events from morning to night. Others will arrive with an open calendar, ready to explore and discover wherever their interests take them.

Details about the 83rd Joint Annual Conference can be found online in the 2015 Conference Preview, Additional details will also be available in the official Conference Program, which can be picked up at the main registration desk.

But there are two new activities that should attract newcomers and veterans alike.

IASB is excited to announce a brand new feature in the Exhibit Hall. Select vendors have partnered with IASB to sponsor the first-ever IASB Learning Labs. Located in Aisle 100 of the Hyatt Regency Chicago Riverside Center, these vendors will be offering 1-hour presentations and demonstrations of school products and services.

With seating limited to 36 participants, each Lab will have complete AV and Internet setups for feature presentations by vendor representatives. These labs will be held at specific 1-hour time slots during regular exhibit hall hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Here is a list of the featured organizations and their presentations:

NextEra Energy (Electric Markets — Are You Ready For What Happens Next?), The Sandner Group/ISDA/WCSIT (Safe Board/Vendor Relations — Truth vs. Fiction), Learning Partners (Lead With 3-D: Bringing Virtual Reality to the Classroom), NaviGate Prepared/Lauren Innovations (School Safety: NaviGate Prepared), Stifel (Tax Caps — What You Need to Know to Prepare), Care Here (Onsite/Near-site Health and Wellness Centers: Reducing Healthcare Costs and Improving Productivity), Humana (Get Moving – How Wearable Technology Impacts the Overall Wellness and Culture at Your Schools), Universal Technical Institute (How Do We Help Students Find Their Future “Fit”?), ECRA Group (Governance and Return on Investment Programs to Keep and Programs to Cut), Rival5 (Beyond the Phone System – Affordable VoIP Service with an Emphasis on Safety), and Chalkable (Transforming Education with Technology).

A complete schedule and list of presenters will be available in the Conference Program. Announcements will be made during Conference and a schedule posted at various locations throughout the Hyatt Regency.

“We are excited to give these sponsors an opportunity to meet attendees and to have more time to show and tell their stories,” said IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy. “Other conferences offer a similar exhibit option and we wanted to try it here. There is always plenty to see and do on the exhibit floor and this should be a great showcase for these products and services.”

Another activity new to the Joint Annual Conference this year is the IASB Mini Clinics. Located in the Comiskey Room, on the concourse level of the Hyatt Regency West Tower, these 20-minute presentations will feature IASB staff members who will explain and demonstrate a variety of select Association member services.

Theater seating will be limited to 34 participants and each Clinic will have complete AV and Internet setups for feature presentations by IASB staff members. The clinics will be held at specific 20-minute time slots during regular Comiskey Room hours, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.  

Here is a list of the IASB staff presentations:

Governmental Relations (resolutions process and advocacy), Targeting Achievement through Governance (Illinois School Report Card), Board Development (community engagement and the board’s role in student learning), Executive Searches, Communications (IASB News Blog, social media, recruiting school board candidates, and wrapping up the conference experience), Field Services (superintendent evaluations and setting district goals and direction), Policy Services (School Board Policies Online, maintaining the board policy manual, 10 policies for better governance, and BoardBook), and the Office of General Counsel (Meet the PRESS editors and learn about the Legislative PRESS issue).   

A complete schedule and list of presenters will be available in the Conference Program. Announcements will be made during Conference and a schedule posted at various locations throughout the Hyatt Regency.

“For years, this room has operated as an informal hospitality suite,” said IASB Associate Executive Director James Russell. “We are transforming this room from a cookies and coffee lounge to a venue that showcases the services that our members want and use.”

These are just two of the new activities taking place at the 83rd Joint Annual Conference. To find out more about this year’s event, visit IASB’s online Conference page at: Those attending Conference for the first time should also consider attending the Conference orientation panel, scheduled at 11 a.m. Friday and repeated at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.  

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