Making the most of your conference experience

The Capital Conference has grown to the size it is today because of its reputation for providing school board members, administrators and staff the most timely, comprehensive and high-quality professional development available. With so much going on at the four-day event, here’s some advice to help you make the most of the conference.

Before the conference

• Distribute news releases to the local media outlets indicating who is attending, where it will be held and the value of the meeting to your school district (OSBA sends fill-in-the-blank news releases to all participating districts).

• Familiarize yourself with the program by reviewing the Conference Guide, which is mailed to registered attendees in last September.

• Plan which sessions you will attend. If there is more than one person from your district attending the conference, get together to coordinate your schedules to get the widest possible exposure to available programs.

• Make sure you have your all the necessary registration materials, hotel confirmation and plenty of paper to take notes.

• Download handouts for the sessions you plan to attend.

• Review the Capital Conference Guide to learn about all of the events taking place during the conference.

• Download the Capital Conference app (available Oct. 3) to create your personalized agenda, stay up-to-date on any changes to the conference schedule and view session handouts.

During the conference

• Take notes of the sessions you at­tend. Collect handouts from speak­ers. Copies of handouts also will be available at the OSBA Information Station, online and through the conference app.

• Exchange ideas with board mem­bers and administrators from other districts.

• Visit the Trade Show to learn about the latest in education-related goods and services. There’s sure to be some money-saving, value-added information to pick up from the more than 600 vendor booths.

• Actively participate in the sessions you attend.

• Keep a daily log of what you do; you’ll be surprised how much you’ve covered.

• If you use social media, share your thoughts and engage with other attendees on Twitter by using the conference hashtag, #OSBACC.

• Advise an OSBA staff member immediately of any problems. We want to do everything within our power to make this a highly productive meeting for everyone attending.

• Allow some time for rest and relaxation. The Student Achievement Fair, complete with student performance groups and artwork, is a great place to relax and learn about innovative programs at other school districts.

After the conference

• Send out news releases discussing the sessions you attended or participated in (OSBA also sends fill-in-the-blank releases for post-conference use). For the most im­pact, include some personal impres­sions you had of the meeting in the form of a direct quote.

• Make sure you report on the conference at your next board meeting or write a summary of the meeting for board members and administra­tors who did not attend. Make sure that reporters, editors and news directors from the local media get copies.

• Publicize ways that the ideas you picked up at the conference will save your schools money, add to dis­trict efficiency and improve student achievement.

• Review your notes while they are still fresh and share the information, including handouts, you received with others in your district.

• Remember that planning for next year’s conference begins immediately after the event. If you have any suggestions, please share them with OSBA as soon as possible.

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