Workshop 2017 is quickly approaching. This year’s theme, “Education for a Common Purpose,” reflects the evolution of public education and its historic – and current – impact on our state and our country. Public education has long been the cornerstone of our democracy, teaching common and civic values, and preparing all students for their future. Student achievement is directly correlated with effective school board leadership – which begins with effective training.

This year, Workshop will offer even more training opportunities as it expands to a four-day conference starting a day earlier than in past years; the conference will be Monday, Oct. 23 through Thursday, Oct. 26.  The additional day will feature new and compelling sessions given by Association staffers, as well as NJSBA’s one-day New Board Member Orientation program.

Jointly sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, and the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials, Workshop is an ideal opportunity for board members and other school leaders to refresh their knowledge about vital topics in education and to learn valuable strategies for improving the quality and efficiency of their local district. With more than 250 learning opportunities, there will be an abundance of information on best practices, free programming and resources, and successful public/private collaborations.

Bring More of Your Team This year, the Workshop group registration now covers 18 school district team members (up from 14 team members) which may include: the school board, business administrator, superintendent, facilities managers, curriculum professionals, IT staff, and other district professionals. So whatever your interest – technology, cost savings, shared services, sustainability, alternative revenue opportunities, teacher evaluations, student achievement – you’re sure to find it at Workshop 2017 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

In a switch from previous years, attendee badges will not be sent to school districts in advance of Workshop; this year, attendees will print their own badges at special kiosks that will be outside the Exhibit Hall at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Workshop 2017 Keynote Speaker

Workshop 2017 will feature keynote speaker, Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D. Dr. Elias, of Rutgers University, is a nationally-recognized expert in community and preventive psychology and school intervention. He serves as director of clinical training in the university’s psychology department; as director of the Rutgers Social and Emotional Learning Laboratory, and as director of the Collaborative, Rutgers’ Center for Community-Based Research, Service, and Public Scholarship. For five years, he directed New Jersey’s Developing Safe and Civil Schools Initiative, working with 250 schools statewide.

Training at Workshop

The main focus of Workshop is training There are several program formats that appeal to different learning styles. Whether you enjoy listening to expert speakers in a large group setting, want short informational sessions that focus on specific topics, or prefer being part of a small group participating in hands-on activities, Workshop 2017 has every option for you to learn at your pace. Make sure you get there Monday, for new programming being offered on that day.

Action Labs Action Labs are structured to not only teach attendees best practices, but also provide the opportunity to put those theories into practice. These 90-minute sessions will be offered all four days of Workshop and provide attendees with in-depth learning and engaging activities. They are held in the convention center’s small group rooms, and attendance is limited to 48 participants in order to allow for a highly interactive, hands-on session. Seating is available 30 minutes before the session starts, on a first-come basis. Board members can earn one NJSBA Board Member Academy credit for each Action Lab they attend.

This year’s Action Labs address a wide range of topics. Popular topics covered annually at Workshop include leadership, board governance, school finance, superintendent search and labor relations. In addition, there will be Action Labs on other important issues, including health and wellness, strategic planning, the chief school administrator evaluation process, teamwork and student achievement.

Collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Education Workshop will feature a unique collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). NJDOE staff members will present programs on several topics that are timely and useful to school leaders. Topics include focusing support on the cycle of teaching and learning; processing data to increase student learning; and how collaborative conversations with parents can build a community of support for children.

Group Sessions Group Sessions are 60 minutes in length, take place in a lecture hall setting, and often feature a panel of experts or multiple presenters. Among this year’s Group Sessions include programs within the following tracks: technology, student achievement/learning, finance, alternative funding, governmental relations, curriculum, legal, policy, shared services, school safety, leadership, and board governance. Board members can earn an NJSBA Board Member Academy credit for each Group Session they attend.

Learning Labs Special sessions will be offered at various Learning Labs throughout the Exhibit Hall. Learning Labs provide an introduction to a topic of study and offer participants the chance to decide if they want to dive deeper into training. These 30-minute sessions are content-focused, and less formal than the Group Sessions or Special Sessions. The Learning Lab setting will offer a wide variety of topics and give participants the opportunity to learn and ask questions in a casual setting.

Mandated Training Workshop 2017 will offer the opportunity for school board members and charter school trustees to fulfill their state-mandated training requirements. These in-person sessions will provide the type of interactive training that adds richness to the board member-trainer conversation. Governance I mandated training will be offered Monday, Oct. 23 while Governance II, III and IV mandated training programs will be offered on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 26. Board members may take their 2018 mandated training at Workshop, in advance of the 2018 calendar year.

Special Sessions Is your district preparing for negotiations? Are you a member who sits on his or her board’s negotiations committee? Join us at theLabor Relations Mini-Workshop. This half-day program updates board members and administrators on a variety of labor relations topics, including recent court decisions regarding increments and developments in health insurance. The program is an important learning and networking opportunity for anyone involved in collective negotiations. Come hear an experienced panel of practitioners provide practical information and advice on current negotiations topics.

No ticket is required, but we recommend you get there early, as the session usually fills up fast. Check the program book and app to schedule your day. The 47th Annual School Law Forum, another long-time favorite of Workshop participants, will take place at Workshop on Thursday, Oct. 26. The program is a full-day review of timely legal issues, and is designed for school law attorneys, board members and administrators.

Mock BoardThe popular “Mock Board” will return to the Investors Bank Theater on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 12:45 p.m. After the presentation, participating attorneys will move from the Investors Bank Theater to the Exhibit Floor Learning Lab locations for an in-depth discussion of legal issues in a more intimate 30-minute Learning Lab session, which will be presented twice during an hour-long period.

Professional Development Credit

Workshop 2017 will offer board members the opportunity to earn NJSBA Academy credits toward board member certifications. In addition, NJSBA has been authorized to issue Qualified Purchasing Agent credits for school business administrators, professional development credits for Certified Educational Facilities Managers (CEFM) and sustainability credits toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools Certification. Workshop 2017 will also offer expanded training for school technology professionals, as part of NJSBA’s commitment to helping schools reach their technology goals, such as the Future Ready Schools – NJ program.

Programming that meets the qualifications for these credits and certifications will be noted in the program book and in the Workshop 2017 app.

Qualified Purchasing Agent CreditsCourses will be offered for those interested in increasing their knowledge of public purchasing, as well as public officials who want the Registered Public Purchasing Official (RPPO) or the Registered Public Purchasing Specialist (RPPS) certification. Business administrators, facility managers and administrators are welcome. Please check your Workshop program book or SCHED, Workshop 2017’s web-based event scheduling program, for a listing of specific programs that satisfy certification requirements.

Exhibit Floor Features

Exhibit Floor The Exhibit Floor at the convention center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday. With more than 300 exhibitors, the hall provides an easy forum for learning about the latest in educational products and services.

NJSBA Services Area: One Stop Shop for Savings How much can your district save by using NJSBA services? Stop by the NJSBA Services area to talk with a professional on how your district can save thousands of dollars a year with the help of NJSBA. Learn about the products, services, and cost-savings opportunities for your district that comes with membership in NJSBA. The NJSBA Services area is also the destination for Workshop ribbons and giveaways.

Tour the Digital Learning Revolution Mobile Classroom The iSchool Initiative Bus will be back for Workshop 2017. Step inside a 38-foot classroom-on-wheels and experience a complete mobile solution for schools. Along with inspiring presentations, the Digital Learning Revolution Tour demonstrates solutions for mobile technology integration and brings the full experience to your school’s doorstep. The Digital Learning Revolution Mobile Classroom will be available on the exhibit floor for Tuesday and Wednesday.

NJSBA Future Ready Center NJSBA’s brand new Future Ready Center will offer attendees professional development opportunities in alignment with the Future Ready Schools – NJ initiative. This area on the Exhibit Floor will highlight the first schools in New Jersey to receive their certification. Do not miss this opportunity to celebrate and learn from New Jersey schools that are dedicated to preparing our students for success in college, career, and citizenship in a digital age. The Future Ready Center will also offer the opportunity for districts to learn how to achieve the certification with the help of NJSBA service providers.

21st Century Classroom Public school classrooms today are designed to place a premium on interaction, collaboration and engagement, and provide educational opportunities that were never possible before. The 21st Century Classroom at NJSBA Workshop 2017 will demonstrate how technologies and techniques come together to provide maximum educational value to students. The classroom is designed to facilitate initiatives like bring your own device (BYOD), SmartBoards, distance and integrated video learning, and enhanced collaboration. This working model 21st Century Classroom will demonstrate how technology can integrate with pedagogy to strengthen and reinforce curriculum, enhancing the student’s learning experience.

Advanced Technology at the Atlantic City Convention Center Workshop 2017 will have a multi-carrier distributed antenna system that will assure quality, high-speed mobile device coverage for all Workshop attendees. This will include the convention center’s atrium, exhibit halls, 45 meeting rooms, and ballroom facilities. No matter where you are, whether it is in a Group Session, or on the Exhibit Floor, you will be able to post that photo of your colleague to the Workshop 2017 app!

Arts at Workshop To emphasize the importance of arts education, and to provide Workshop participants with top-notch entertainment, NJSBA will once again showcase some of the finest student performers in the state. The performance schedule will be listed in your program book and will be heard throughout the Exhibit Floor during Workshop.

I-STEAM Command Center This year’s Workshop will feature an updated I-STEAM Command Center. This new and improved destination, located on the Exhibit Floor, will engage attendees like never before. The NJSBA I-STEAM Command Center will have demonstration stations that will focus on an integrative approach to STEAM education and provide resources and experts to help schools start or enhance existing STEAM programs.

The center will also feature an expanded “STEAM Tank Challenge” this year.

The STEAM Tank Challenge is a student invention competition created and sponsored by NJSBA and the U.S. Army. Teams create innovative projects, and present their inventions to a judging panel of entrepreneurs, business leaders and inventors. The program encourages student achievement in the STEAM education areas – science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics.

Launched at Workshop 2016, the program was so popular that NJSBA expanded it to include three regional competitions. More than 190 teams of K-8 and high school students submitted applications to participate this year. In the spring, 37 regional winners were selected from the 90 school district teams that were chosen to present at the regional competitions. The regional winners will present their inventions to a panel of judges on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25. Two statewide winners will be selected: one each from the grades K-8 and the grades 9-12 categories.

Sustainable Schools Center The Sustainable Schools Center will feature displays and demonstrations on how schools can engage in sustainable practices. The center will also host a variety of government agencies and non-profit organizations that showcase programs and resources that lead to sustainable environments at lower operating costs.

For the sixth year, Workshop 2017 will be a carbon-neutral event. In an effort to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions generated to meet the needs of the conference, the three host organizations invest in offsetting the carbon footprint. Such a process involves making a donation that pays for reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere elsewhere – such as a renewable energy or reforestation project – to balance out the emissions created.

Don’t Miss Workshop 2017As New Jersey’s students prepare for higher education and 21st century careers, the leaders who govern their schools must also engage in a continuous cycle of professional development and learning. Workshop 2017 will provide board members, charter school trustees and school administrators with the training and resources to help their students thrive in the years ahead. So join us, Oct. 23 to Oct. 26, at the Atlantic City Convention Center for Workshop 2017. For more on the conference, including housing and registration information, go to the Workshop website.