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Conference Attendance Exceeds 12,000 Mark Again

The IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference – already considered the premiere school leadership event in Illinois – exceeded its own attendance record in 2009.

Final figures showed that 12,379 people registered for the 2009 conference. That is 118 more than 2008, and is the third consecutive year that attendance topped the 12,000 mark.

This was the 77th Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

The event was headquartered at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Nov. 20-22, and drew 4,509 guests, 3,813 school board members, 2,117 exhibitors, 1,044 administrators, 671 superintendents, 132 board secretaries, 40 regional superintendents and 28 university staff, as well as service associates, school attorneys, state board officials, ROEs, and others.

Nearly 89 percent, or 769 of the state's 868 public school districts, were represented.

The Joint Annual Conference remains extremely popular, despite the economic hardships facing school districts and individuals, because of the abundant learning opportunities it provides for board members and administrators.

Information and insights on a full range of issues in school governance and Illinois education were found at 222 exhibits, 112 panel sessions, 28 "carousel" panels, 13 pre-conference workshops, three general sessions, a bookstore, delegate assembly, and other various learning and networking opportunities.

In fact, this year's panel sessions drew 9,648, an increase of nearly 15 percent, or an average of 86 persons per panel in the five panel time slots over three days. Attendance reached standing room only capacity at eight sessions.

Finance and funding was far and away the hot topic for 2009.

Two panels on collective bargaining – Ten Most Common Mistakes in Collective Bargaining and Fundamentals of Collective Bargaining – attracted 588 people. Another 390 attended two other finance panels – Communicating School Finance during Difficult Economic Times and Current Economic Conditions and how they Affect my District.

State finances and their legislative impact were also big draws. Three of the largest were the 2009 Legislative Session Review, What's on the Fiscal Horizon, and Legislative Issues Impacting School Districts. Combined, 970 school leaders attended these sessions.

The single largest school law panel attracted 325 people on Saturday afternoon to learn more about FOIA Rewritten: with Transparency and Accountability for all.

Also popular again was the "Carousel of Panels" held on Saturday afternoon at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. More than 300 board members and administrators attended the 28 panels that rotated in three 30-minute sessions.

School districts sent 375 representatives to debate 19 resolutions presented at Saturday's Delegate Assembly. In addition to voting on IASB's position statements, they also voted on officers, and heard reports from newly elected IASB President Joseph Alesandrini and IASB Executive Director Emeritus Michael D. Johnson.

A separate strand of professional development for board secretaries was held at the Swissotel Chicago. This year elected officials and school employees could attend as many as 12 training sessions on various topics, including board meeting agendas and minutes, electronic board packets, tech-savvy secretaries, providing support for the board and superintendent, closed sessions, Illinois E-Pay, crisis planning, state student information systems, FOIA changes, difficult people, and personnel-related issues.

Attendance at the nine IASB pre-conference workshops held on Friday exceeded 800, which was the highest workshop turnout since 2001. Three of the workshops – School Board Leadership, Basics of School Finance, and Collective Bargaining – topped 100 persons each.

The 2000 conference also featured workshops for members of the Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials, five tours of Chicago Public Schools, three general sessions and keynote speakers, a day-long seminar for school attorneys, and various meetings of work-alike groups.

This year's keynoters were Jason Dorsey, who spoke about Generation Y, educator and producer Mark Scharenbroich, and humorist/author Steve Sobel. Other featured guests included state school board officials and NSBA President C.H. "Sonny" Savoie of Louisiana.

Nine schools and school architecture firms received awards in the 2009 Invitational Exhibition of Educational Environments program, sponsored by IASB Service Associates. Awards of Distinction, Merit and Honorable Mention were given and a total of 26 entries were on display throughout the conference.

Awards also went out for Risk Management, Outstanding School Board President, Superintendent of the Year, and Distinquished Service Award.

A new IASB service – LeaderShop Online Learning Center – was also introduced at the Association's hospitality room, where visitors could talk, meet Association officers and staff, meet state board of education officials, and heard about the features of IASB services, including BoardBook®, the Members-Only website, and the Association's school board policies online hosting service.

This was the second year that certified Illinois teachers who were either registered conference attendees (board members) or registered guests were able to receive Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) for their participation in the 2009 Joint Annual Conference. Nearly 160 teachers took advantage of this offer.

The 78th Joint Annual Conference will be held Nov. 19-21, 2010, in Chicago. Requests for Proposals and information for exhibitors will be posted in early 2010. Housing and registration packets will be mailed to districts in early June 2010.

2009 Conference Menu


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