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2017 Conference Overview

JACMore than 82 percent of the state’s 852 public school districts were represented at the 2017 Joint Annual Conference, held Nov. 17-19 in Chicago.

This was the 85th meeting of the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), and Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO). Total attendance was 9,917. Those registered included 3,421 guests, 3,059 board members, 1,199 administrators, and 1,237 exhibitors, as well as board secretaries, school attorneys, regional and state education officials, state lawmakers, and other representatives.

Professional development is the primary purpose of the Conference, and was amply offered through 249 exhibit booths, 120 panel sessions, 24 “carousel” panels, 13 sessions for administrative professionals, eight board member training workshops, three seminars for school business officials, three general sessions, a seminar for school attorneys, a superintendents’ session, as well as the IASB Delegate Assembly, bookstore, and other learning and networking opportunities.

For the second year, IASB hosted a School Safety and Security Seminar on Friday called “Preparation for School Safety.” The seminar, open to school officials and local safety professionals, drew 124 participants. In addition were eight panels on school safety and security from experts in the field on emergency plans, training, safety drills, building design, and culture and climate.

Also returning on Saturday morning, the Illinois Association of Christian Administrators hosted a time of fellowship, prayer, and shared a positive message of hope.

Two additional time slots were added to the 60-minute panel sessions, giving attendees a total of seven different times to attend panel sessions — a staple of the Conference. This year’s panel attendance drew 9,918 people.

The topics and their attendance included the following: best practices (16 panels, 1,123 attended); community relations and communications (16 panels, 1,057 attended); current issues (8 panels, 698 attended); facilities, transportation, and technology (7 panels, 646 attended); finance and funding (6 panels, 475 attended), governance and leadership (22 panels, 1,739 attended); governmental relations (7 panels, 1,413 attended); school law (7 panels, 655 attended); school safety and security (10 panels, 745 attended); special interest to new board members (6 panels, 408 attended); and student learning achievement (14 panels, 949 attended).

The largest panels by title and attendance were: Legislative Issues Impacting School Districts (two panels 475, 290), Fixing the Top Legal Mistakes Boards Make (264), Transforming School Culture by Connecting with the Community (263), and Financial Stewardship in Illinois (220). The Carousel of Panels on Saturday afternoon had a total attendance of 561.

Many of the panel sessions provided handouts, some of which are available to download from the IASB Members-Only website.

IASB also offered eight Pre-Conference Workshops that drew 991 participants. Half-day and full-day training included basics of governance, PDLT and PERA (mandatory board training), the job of the board president, monitoring district performance, using data, and board/superintendent relationships. Two half-day workshops were each presented twice: “Get your message Out: Your Role in Crafting an Effective Public Image” and “The R Factor: How to Manage the One Thing You Control.”

Other training opportunities included an all-day school law seminar for school attorneys, workshops for Illinois ASBO members on school finance, leadership practices, and sustainable learning environments, and an IASA session on building district leadership. Two days of specialized training were offered for 231 school board secretaries, including information on communication skills, FOIA and OMA requirements, IMRF benefits, school safety, conflict resolution, IASB’s PRESS Plus services, agendas and minutes, ROE compliance, and new laws. A new feature at this year’s Administrative Professionals’ Program were kiosks on Saturday where IASB staff provided both personal and technical assistance to attendees on the Association’s web services.

Licensed Illinois teachers attending as guests or as board members were also able to qualify for up to nine Professional Development Clock Hours , and 180 participated.

This year 367 districts sent representatives to the IASB Delegate Assembly to vote on resolutions involving polling places and sales tax expansion They also elected officers and heard reports from the Association president and treasurer, and heard from the Illinois FFA State Treasurer Chase Clausen, a 2016 graduate Sycamore High School (Sycamore CUSD 427).

The keynote speakers at the three General Sessions were Tim Kight, Ruby Payne, and Jonathan Edison. The General Sessions were also where awards were presented for school design, risk management, and individual awards for top superintendent, school board president, school business official, and school board secretary. Special guests included NSBA executive director and president, IASB past presidents, and executive directors.

The Conference also showcased student participation in the arts. This year, 40 pieces of visual art created by Illinois elementary and high school students were on display. The student art show is coordinated by the Illinois Art Education Association and the Illinois High School Art Exhibition. The First General Session on Friday included performances by the Wheaton Warrenville South High School Classics Show Choir (CUSD 200), Wheeling CCSD 21 Honors Choir, and the Phoenix Military Academy Color Guard.

The IASB Homeroom was open Friday and Saturday. Located in the hub of the Conference headquarters hotel, Association staff and directors provided information and demonstrations about IASB products and services. Guests participated in prize drawings and were encouraged to share lessons learned at this year’s Conference on a large white board. Also on display in the Homeroom were IASB videos, event photos, as well as a tweet wall showcasing tweets using the Conference hashtag (#ILjac17) and hashtag leaderboard.

Social media engagements at this year’s Conference involved Twitter, Facebook, and live stream videos on YouTube. The Conference hashtag #ILjac17 generated 1,616 tweets on Twitter. IASB also partnered with Illinois Channel to live stream two panel sessions, as well as a roundtable discussion with the executive directors from IASB, IASA, Illinois ASBO, and the Illinois Principals Association. A link to a gallery of photos will be posted for participants and others to view at no charge.

Participants can also help to evaluate the 2017 Joint Annual Conference by completing a short online survey.

The 86th Joint Annual Conference will be held Nov. 16-18, 2018 in Chicago. A Call for Proposals is now available for local school districts and related organizations that want to make presentations next year. Exhibitor and sponsorship information will be posted in February, while housing and registration will be posted in the summer.


2017 Conference Menu


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