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2012 Joint Annual Conference Overview

The weather was good. The attendance was great. The results were outstanding.

That was the conclusion shared by many participants and guests who attended the 2012 Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Business Officials and Illinois Association of School Administrators.

More than 84 percent, or 727 of the state’s 863 public school districts, were represented at this year’s event. That figure compares favorably to the 85 percent or 738 districts that attended in 2011 and is significantly higher than the 76 percent attendance rate of the 2010 conference.

Long considered the nation’s premiere state education conference, the 2012 Conference, held Nov. 16-18 in Chicago, was the 80th consecutive event co-hosted by the three state education organizations. Hundreds of professional development opportunities, exhibits, networking, and other events are cited as the primary reasons the conference has sustained its success over the years.

Its prime location at three downtown hotels near Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” and coinciding with the city’s annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival also gives participants and their families a chance to enjoy the state’s favorite conference destination.

This year’s conference drew more than 10,000 school board members, administrators, superintendents, secretaries, exhibitors, school attorneys, regional superintendents, university professors, IASB Service Associates, state board officials, and special ed administrators.

Information and insights on a wide range of issues in school governance and public education were found at 270 exhibits, 116 panel sessions, 36 "carousel" panels, nine pre-conference workshops, three general sessions, bookstore, delegate assembly, and other various learning and networking opportunities.

This year's panel sessions, which are held in five time slots over three days, drew 9,256 people, and averaged 80 persons per panel. In fact, four panels exceeded their room’s 475-person capacity with standing room-only crowds. They included:

  • Behind the Scenes of Pension Reform
  • School Law 2012: The Top Five Things Board Members Should Know
  • Legislative Issues Impacting School Districts
  • Principal and Teacher Evaluations under PERA

Also drawing large contingencies were: Finance for Veteran Board Members (305), 2012 Legislative Review (305), The Future for State Revenue (300), Carousel of Panels (278), Getting Serious About Teacher Evaluations (248) Negotiations Under Current Economic Times (230), Dueling I-Pad Apps (223), Open Meetings Act Training (215), and What’s Trending in Special Ed Law (213).

Eight other panels also had 100-plus participants.

Prior to the opening of the Conference, IASB hosted nine pre-conference workshops on Friday. Topics included governance, financial oversight, collective bargaining, monitoring performance, board presidents, diversity, generational leadership, inspiring trust, and board-superintendent relations. Attendance at these paid, pre-registered events held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers topped 725 and several were sold out.

IASA and Illinois ASBO also hosted workshops for their members.

This year, 175 people who work as school board secretaries or who serve as recording board secretary attended break-out panels, a general session and a carousel of panels on duties and skills of that position. The two-day sessions were held at the Swissotel.   

Handouts (PDF Word documents or PowerPoints) provided by many of the panels presented at this year's Joint Annual Conference are now available at the IASB Members-Only website .

The 2012 Joint Annual Conference also drew thousands to the general sessions that featured keynote speakers, Rory Vaden , Diane Ravitch and Dale Henry . Award presentations made at these sessions included the David Binotti Risk Management Award, the Award of Distinction for school architecture, Illinois ASBO’s Ronald E. Everett Distinguished Service Award, ISBE’s Thomas Lay Burroughs Award for Outstanding School Board President, IASB’s Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award for School Board Secretary, and the Superintendent of the Year Award.

Guests at this year’s general sessions included NSBA President Edward Massey, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, and IASB past presidents and executive directors.

More than 350 districts sent representatives to the annual Delegate Assembly on Saturday, Nov. 17. Delegates voted on 23 resolutions that were new, amended or re-affirmations of IASB Position Statements.

Other conference events included the annual Illinois Council of School Attorneys Seminar, five tours of Chicago Public Schools, the juried Exhibit of Educational Environments , as well as the exhibit hall, bookstore, and Sunday’s ”Coffee and Conversations” roundtables.

Hundreds of members and guests also took advantage of IASB’s Information Room (Comiskey Room), where they 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, school board policies online hosting service, and the LeaderShop Online Learning Center.

There were four names drawn in a raffle for free enrollment in the Online Learning Center. The exhibit hall was also busy again this year. A bingo game was held by IASB Service Associates exhibitors and drew 148 entries for 25 winning gift cards.

Co-chairs for the 2012 Joint Annual Conference were IASB Directors Tom Neeley, Morton CUSD 709, of the Central Illinois Division, and Rosemary Swanson, Wheaton-Warrenville CUSD 200, DuPage Division.

This was the fifth 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 conference. More than 190 teachers took advantage of this offer.

Participants who want to help evaluate the 2012 Joint Annual Conference can go online to complete a survey about their experiences and activities. An online gallery of hundreds of photos taken at this year’s conference will also be made available.

The 81st Joint Annual Conference will be held Nov. 22-24, 2013, in Chicago. A Call for Proposals has been posted has been posted online for local districts that want to make panel presentations. Information for exhibitors will posted in early February, while housing and registration forms will be available in early June 2013.

The 2013 event will also celebrate IASB’s 100 th anniversary. Special events are being planned for throughout the year and will be announced in the coming weeks and months.


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