The PARCC assessment results, and how schools can use them to improve education…the future of the Common Core State Standards in New Jersey…and topics ranging from homework to school funding, and from sustainability to cyber-security…will be addressed during Workshop 2015, “Partners in Student Achievement,” Oct. 27-29, at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Workshop is the largest annual training conference for New Jersey’s public school officials. This year’s attendance is estimated to be more than 7,000.

In all, Workshop will provide 250 training and information sessions, including:

  • More than 40 on advancing student achievement through innovative curriculum, including iSTEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) education programs;
  • More than 30 on technology, including cyber security;
  • More than 30 on school district finance, including shared services;
  • More than 35 on labor relations, school law and policy development, and
  • More than 20 on environmental and financial sustainability.

State Policy Focus

Major addresses will include an exploration of the state of education in New Jersey by Commissioner of Education David Hespe (Oct. 27), as well as a presentation by New Jersey Department of Education officials on the results of the first administration of the PARCC assessment and the current review of the Common Core State Standards (Oct. 27, repeated Oct. 28).

In addition, the New Jersey School Boards Association and the Garden State Coalition of Schools will co-sponsor the annual Workshop Legislative Panel on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Legislative leaders, along with other key lawmakers involved in committees overseeing education and school finance, are expected to participate.

Release of Student Health & Wellness Report

On Wednesday, Oct. 27, the NJSBA Task Force on the Impact of Health and Wellness on Student Achievement will release the results of its year-long study. The final report includes 125 recommendations for action by local school districts and the state and federal governments. The work of the task force involved more than 60 representatives of state- and national-level educational organizations and advocacy groups, higher education, child welfare organizations, and private industry.

Workshop is sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA), the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, and the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials.

Below is a small sampling of the more that 250 sessions to be offered at Workshop 2015. All programs will take place at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Tuesday, Oct. 27

Becoming a Mobile Learner

In one of workshop’s keynote addresses, Travis Allen, a college senior who operates a growing non-profit organization devoted to digital learning, the iSchool Initiative, will address revolutionizing American education through mobile technology. 10-11:30 a.m., Exhibit Hall Theater

Health and Wellness Task Force Report

The NJSBA Task Force on the Impact of Health and Wellness on Student Achievement will present its findings and recommendations on policies and practices that positively impact student achievement. 11:30 a.m. – noon, iSTEAM and Green Command Center, Exhibit Floor

Healthy Schools = Increased Performance + Cost Savings

A panel of educators and student health and sustainability specialists will address how initiatives that support healthy environments, wellness and sound nutrition pay financial and educational dividends. Noon-1 p.m., Green Lab, Exhibit Floor

Current Issues in School Law

NJSBA staff attorneys will present an update on developments affecting boards of education and charter schools, ranging from recent advisory opinions of the New Jersey School Ethics Commission to court decisions on tenure, employee non-renewal and harassment, intimidation and bullying. 1-2 p.m., Room 405-406

PARCC: The Next Steps

Dr. Bari Erlichson and Kimberley Harrington, the New Jersey Department of Education’s chief academic and performance officers, respectively, will address the results of the first administration of the PARCC assessment, how school leaders should use the data to advance student achievement and the goals of the state’s current review of the Common Core State Standards.1-2 p.m., Room 401 (repeated on Oct. 28)

A Conversation with Commissioner David Hespe

New Jersey’s chief state school officer will address the state of education, including progress toward education initiatives. He will also provide a look into the future of state education policy and will discuss how state and local education leaders can effectively work together to prepare students for college and careers. 2-3:30 p.m., Exhibit Hall Theater

Conducting a Tabletop Drill for Crisis Response

Administrators from two Bergen County school districts and a local police chief will guide attendees through a “real life” drill involving the schools, public safety personnel and the office of emergency management. 2:30-3:30 p.m., Room 419

Wednesday, Oct. 28

Redefining Homework Policies: Creating Effective Practices that Promote Learning

The topic of homework can be a polarizing one in a school community. Freehold Township Superintendent Dr. Ross Kasun and two principals, Edward Aldarelli and Dr. Jeff Huguenin, will focus on effective practices, including limits on the amount of homework assigned and grading. 9:30-10:30 a.m., Room 408-409

Board Meetings Gone Wild: Crazier than Ever

This session will feature video footage, described as “outrageous,” from actual public meetings. Attendees will receive tips from board attorneys and experienced school officials about how to keep it “cool” when a public meeting gets a little “too hot to handle.” 9:30-10:30 a.m., Room 420

Education: Living It, Loving It and Laughing About It

Author and humorist Jack Berckemeyer, who began his career as a middle school teacher, will provide strategies on using optimism to bring positive changes to the culture and climate of schools, on being an adult advocate for kids, and on using data to drive decision-making. 10-11:30 a.m., Exhibit Hall Theater

New Jersey State Board of Education: Panel Discussion

The president and other members of the State Board of Education will conduct an open dialogue about the board’s mission and vision, major issues facing the state’s public schools, including standardized testing, and the components of an “ideal” education for New Jersey’s students. 10-11:30 a.m., Exhibit Hall Theater

Mock Board

Board members love speaking to the NJSBA attorneys. This year, the first half-hour of the Mock Board meeting will be dedicated to public comment/non-agenda items, offering an opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions of NJSBA’s legal experts. Following the public comment session, the “board” will then convene in executive session to discuss student discipline and freedom of speech issues. “Board” members will deliberate all sides of the school administration’s discipline of students for expressing their First Amendment rights. 1-2 p.m., Exhibit Hall Theater

School-Municipal Cooperation: Creative Solutions to the 2 Percent Cap

The presidents of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and the New Jersey School Boards Association will lead a panel of local officials who have worked together to address financial challenges through shared services and improved communication between the schools and town hall. 1-2 p.m., Room 414

Legislative Panel

Sponsored by the NJSBA and the Garden State Coalition of Schools, the forum will feature key state lawmakers discussing initiatives before the Legislature in areas such as school funding, school safety, and standards and assessment. 2-3:30 p.m., Room 417

A complete listing of Workshop programs is available at SCHED, the online and mobile-friendly program schedule.