Registration is now open for NSBA’s 72nd conference, held for the first time in Boston, from April 21 to 23, 2012. Join school board leaders and administrators from across the country for this premier event for school boards to learn about education issues from a national perspective, understand how federal legislation and court decisions will affect your district, and gain insights into strategies to raise student achievement and save money in your district.
In addition to the new locale, the conference will offer more than 200 sessions, plus an expanded lineup of technology sessions, important legislative and legal advocacy issues, and new opportunities to learn about new products and services in the Exhibit Hall. Discounts are available to early-bird registration National Affiliate Districts and TLN Districts only, of groups of 10 or more for the same school district. Visit NSBA’s Annual Conference website registration page for more details.
Keynote speakers include Geoffrey Canada, a nationally recognized and passionate advocate for education reform and president/chief executive officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone, and Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, a free online education platform and not-for-profit organization. The General Session speaker for Saturday has not yet been announced.
Author and culinary star Chef Jeff Henderson will highlight the Sunday morning fellowship program with a talk entitled “From the Streets to the Stove: The Power of Potential.” Henderson spent 10 years in prison for dealing drugs, but while incarcerated, he discovered a passion for cooking and committed himself to turning his life around. He became the executive chef at Café Bellagio in Las Vegas and now hosts Food Network’s “The Chef Jeff Project,” which takes at-risk young adults and commits them to changing their lives through work with his catering company.
A special strand of sessions will help acclimate new board members, including a New Board Member Boot Camp Pre-Conference Session that will discuss ethics, board meetings, and the role of a school board. Other sessions scheduled for new board members include: The Key Work of School Boards — An Overview; Data-Driven Decision Making; The Basics of Financial Oversight; Basic Parliamentary Procedure; The Federal Legislative Process & Local School Board Issues; and 10 Myths of Board Service.
Be sure to register early for the popular Technology Site Visits, and be sure to check out the expanded line up of technology sessions for your classrooms. The Technology Leadership Network (TLN) room will feature eight special sessions focused on the hottest topics in creating and supporting a 21st-century learning environment. This year’s site visits include “400 Years of Education,” a visit to Plymouth North High School in its technologically advanced, groundbreaking new facility; Plymouth Public Schools, and Plymouth Plantation on April 20. On Saturday, attendees can take part in a walking tour of Harvard University and be briefed on the institution’s emerging technologies; or on Sunday, visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab to learn more about how emerging technologies are impacting daily life for even the youngest generation. Monday’s visits will examine Whittier Regional Technical High School’s new model for vocational and technical education, and TechBoston Academy’s college-prep curriculum.
NSBA’s legislative and legal advocacy teams have line-ups that include Supreme Court updates, legislative updates (including funding, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, and the Child Nutrition regulatory process). Also, learn tips from veteran lobbyists on how you can become a better advocate for your school district and better communicate with your lawmakers and local officials.
The National Affiliate program will offer numerous exclusive sessions at the National Affiliate Central rooms. And if you are interested in school law or issues impacting urban school districts, be sure to check out the pre-conference planning for NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) and Council of Urban Boards of Education.
As always, NSBA’s three caucuses, which focus on issues related to Black, Hispanic, or Native American students, will host special sessions and two luncheons and one breakfast with inspirational speakers. You do not have to be a member of a particular ethnic group to join these caucuses, only have an interest in learning more about the needs of these students.
Aside from all the education opportunities NSBA’s conference events will offer, Boston’s historical sites and cultural events are not to be missed. Keep in mind the city is easily accessible by plane, train, or car. The Boston convention and Exhibition center and downtown areas are only a few minutes away by cab or water taxi from Logan International Airport. Go to www.bostonusa.com for more information about visiting Boston.