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2014 Conference Overview

More than 82 percent of the state’s 855 public school districts were represented at the 2014 Joint Annual Conference, held Nov. 21-23 in Chicago.

This was the 82nd meeting of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials. Total attendance was 8,462. Those registered included 3,643 guests, 3,008 board members, 1,489 administrators, 1,140 exhibitors, as well as board secretaries, school attorneys, regional and state education officials, and other representatives.

Professional development is the primary purpose of the conference, offered through 267 exhibit booths, 104 panel sessions, 31 “carousel” panels, nine pre-conference workshops, five school tours, three general sessions, as well as the IASB Delegate Assembly, bookstore, and other learning and networking opportunities.

Panel sessions, delivered in 90-minute segments in five different time slots over the three-day conference, drew 6,884 people. Three panels reached “Standing Room Only” capacity, including a Saturday afternoon legislative panel, “Funding Schools: Who Pays, Who Receives?” that drew 420 participants. Panels that attracted the highest number of visitors (100-plus) focused on legislation, teacher evaluation, collective bargaining, technology, and school finance.

There were other training opportunities as well, including an all-day school law seminar for school attorneys, two days of specialized training for school board secretaries, and nine pre-conference workshops that drew 801 participants. Workshop topics included basics of governance, PDLT/PERA (mandatory board training), board presidents, media relations, board-superintendent relations, building trust, collective bargaining, effective board meetings, and community engagement.

Community engagement was also presented in several panel sessions, with perspectives provided by local district practitioners as well as IASB staff.

Teachers attending as guests or as board members were also able to qualify for CPDU credits. And many of the panel sessions provided online handouts and PowerPoint presentations.

This year, 352 districts sent representatives to the IASB Delegate Assembly to vote on 16 resolutions, elect officers and to hear reports from the Association.

The keynote speakers at the General Sessions were another conference highlight. They included John Draper, Jim Burgett and Craig Kielburger. The general sessions were also where awards were given out for school design, risk management and individual awards for superintendent, school board president, school business official, and school board secretary.  Special guests included the NSBA executive director and IASB past presidents and executive directors.

The opening of the Conference on Friday, Nov. 21, also marked the official roll-out of a new statewide education initiative, “Vision 20/20.”

This year’s conference also was the first time that events and reports were updated live via IASB’s Twitter social media page. Many individuals and organizations participated in this online sharing, retweeting and adding their own messages from the conference.

Participants who want to help evaluate the 2014 Joint Annual Conference can go online to complete a two-part survey about their experience and activities. An online gallery of photos taken at the IASB’s “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” photo booth has also been posted for participants to download and share.

The 83rd Joint Annual Conference will be held Nov. 20-22, 2015. A Call for Proposals is now available for local school districts and related organizations that want to make panel presentations next year. Information for exhibitors will be posted in February, while housing and registration forms will be posted in early June 2015.


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