“Another engagement opportunity is the mindfulness area. During breaks, attendees can meditate and do yoga.”
“This event is all about the attendee experience, and providing new ideas, inspirations and the tools needed for our attendees to drive their district forward.”
“And this is more than just a saving’s opportunity. It’s an opportunity for team building and cross-functional learning.”
“And we are really excited that Leslie Odom Jr. will be performing a couple songs for us.”
“. . . school district leadership teams, business officials and staff from around the country can receive the insight and training to address current trends and the instructional needs of students, and to explore solutions that improve the efficiency of district operations on a national level.”
” . . . access the platform in advance, set up your profile and create a customized agenda.”
Q: While virtual events have obviously become far more commonplace and frequent in this past year than ever before, what are some of the ways that you’ve found, or maybe already implemented to make your events and this upcoming event, more engaging and interactive?
A: Online fatigue has already set in for many of us. We chose an event platform that allows attendees to participate in networking sessions, set up meetings with other attendees and chat with peers doing concurrent sessions. Another engagement opportunity is the mindfulness area. During breaks, attendees can meditate and do yoga. And although the conference content will be available on demand for 90 days after the event, we encourage registrants to attend the event live and treat it as an in-person event. Block your calendar, do not approach this as a webinar. And make sure you set time aside to participate and really connect with your colleagues.
Q: Those are all good tactics. You’re absolutely right. Treat it not like a webinar, but like you’re literally at a live event. Sounds like good advice. Attendees will be able to choose from 64 concurrent sessions across nine tracks. How do the topics and tracks fit into this year’s theme for the event?
A: This event is all about the attendee experience, and providing new ideas, inspirations and the tools needed for our attendees to drive their district forward. This year’s programming reflects topics education leaders have identified as vital to their work. From educational equity, to new board member training and school board and superintendent relations. To business operations and school safety. There’s relevant content for every district team member.
Q: That sounds really like some good foundational learning for this year and really going forward. What else is new from NSBA in this conference or any of your other upcoming professional development opportunities?
A: For the first time, we are offering district team pricing for the annual conference. Districts can save up to 50% off registration. For the traditional in-person cost of attendance, districts can register a full team of nine people. And this is more than just a saving’s opportunity. It’s an opportunity for team building and cross-functional learning. We really hope districts take advantage of bringing their entire board, their superintendent, business official and other members of their team.
Q: Connectivity in the virtual space has certainly been a topic that everyone’s been talking about. How does it differ from in-person? With respect to your event, how do the virtual networking and discussion sessions work? Do they allow for the kinds of exchanges that attendees would typically like to have if the event were in person?
A: Absolutely. Attendees can participate in Mindshare and Mingle. That is an opportunity to make new connections and share insights and experiences about what you have learned over the past year. These discussions will take place in regional networking rooms. And then we also have conversation starter, is another virtual networking opportunity. Attendees are encouraged to network in these small group meetups and share their perspectives on trending topics.
Q: It sounds like it’s coming as close to that in-person interaction as possible, which I’m sure attendees will really appreciate. Any sneak peeks you can give us into any of the keynotes, or the speakers, or the topics, anything attendees can look forward to?
A: We currently have Leslie Odom Jr, Tony and Grammy award winning artist and headline performer in the original cast of Broadway’s Hamilton. And we have Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and founder of GoodThink, Incorporated as our keynotes this year. And we are really excited that Leslie Odom Jr. will be performing a couple songs for us. In addition, we also have several equity counsel signature speakers. They include Princeton University professor and author Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sonia Nazario, actor and arts and education advocate Tony Plana, and adolescent health expert Steven Soroka. And this year, everyone can attend the equity council sessions at no charge.
These sessions are usually fee-based and limited to equity council members. For more information about these impactful and aspiring speakers, you can read the American School Board Journal, special conference preview, which is available online now. And just to note, ASBJ [American School Board Journal] is celebrating its 130th anniversary, making it the longest running education publication in the nation. So be sure to visit our website and check out the latest issue.
Q: That sounds like a lot of years of issues of that publication. So that sounds like you have a fantastic lineup, honestly. Really, really some great stuff packed into those days. PSBA and NSBA have obviously had a long-standing partnership. Can you describe to our members in Pennsylvania who may not have attended the NSBA event before, what they stand to gain from joining in a national conference event? What do they stand to gain and benefit that’s maybe different than a state level event?
A: Each year, NSBA hosts the largest networking conference for school board leaders worldwide. NSBA’s annual conference is one of the few, if not only places, school district leadership teams, business officials and staff from around the country can receive the insight and training to address current trends and the instructional needs of students, and to explore solutions that improve the efficiency of district operations on a national level.
Q: It’s that broader connectivity across states that they’re going to be able to experience. Sounds great. What do you recommend for those interested in attending? Where should they start? Do they need to pre-select tracks and sessions? And if so, how do you suggest the best way is to go about doing that?
A: The event platform will be available one week prior to conference. We recommend registering early so that you can access the platform in advance, set up your profile and create a customized agenda. In the meantime, you can visit nsba.org/nsba2021 to view the Schedule-at-a-Glance, sessions descriptions or to download the brochure. The early bird saving registration deadline ends February 26th, so register now to save.
Erina Gilmore, marketing director of NSBA
Erina Gilmore serves as the marketing director of NSBA, where she is responsible for building integrated campaigns for revenue-generating products, services and events. She develops strategies to maximize effectiveness and enhance visibility and engagement.