Workshop 2016 is just one week away. The annual conference, taking place Oct. 25 – 27 at the Atlantic City Convention Center, will be the largest training event for New Jersey’s local school officials.

250 Training and Information Sessions In all, Workshop 2016 will feature more than 250 learning opportunities for school board members, school administrators and other educators. Programs will focus on student achievement, school security, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education, labor relations, school law, and school finance. Other sessions will cover topics ranging from bullying prevention and the use of social media to digital learning and sustainability/green schools.

Some key features of the event include:

A Conversation with the Acting Education Commissioner  New Jersey’s Acting Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington, who took office at the end of September, will talk about education initiatives, challenges facing the public school community, and how state and local school leaders can work together to prepare students for college and careers. Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2-3:30 p.m., Exhibit Floor Theater

Keynote Speaker Fredi Lajvardi, Improbable to Unstoppable Fredi Lajvardi shares with audiences nationwide a first-hand account of the story that brought renewed national focus to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and inspired the critically acclaimed documentary Underwater Dreams, as well as the major motion picture, “Spare Parts,” starring comedic actor George Lopez. With humor and passion, Lajvardi reveals the simple secrets to his national champion robotics team’s unprecedented success, and imparts to audiences the same wisdom, spirit of inventiveness, and determination that transformed an improbable group of disadvantaged Hispanic teenagers into an unstoppable national powerhouse.  His heartfelt presentation captures the imagination, maximizes potential, and sparks the creativity in all of us. Wednesday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Exhibit Floor Theater

Student Performances To highlight the talent and skills of New Jersey public school students, Workshop 2016 will showcase six performances by students. The students will perform on Oct. 25 and 26. Read about the student performance groups.

New Jersey State Legislative Update Co-sponsored by NJSBA and the Garden State Coalition of Schools, the annual panel discussion draws members of the Senate and Assembly leadership and both houses’ education and budget committees, along with other key lawmakers. Topics include school funding, education reform, the achievement gap and other critical issues. Wednesday, Oct. 26, 1-2:30 p.m., Room 305-306.

Lunch and Learn The Exhibit Floor will transform into a training event on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., with free lunch for the first 900 attendees each day to secure a ticket. Read more.

STEAM Tank Challenge Modeled after the popular television show Shark Tank, this new Workshop feature will provide an avenue for students and their teachers to enhance and promote the integrative STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, & math) education initiatives. Judging will take place in the iSTEAM Command Center on the Exhibit Floor Oct. 25 and Oct. 26. Review the programs on the online Workshop schedule.

Live Interactive eLearning Presentation Workshop will explore e-learning right on the exhibit floor stage. Teacher Kathleen Menake and her students from the “Contemporary Issues through Videoconferencing” class at Passaic Valley Regional High School in Little Falls will participate in this groundbreaking presentation using the power of technology. Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to noon, Exhibit Floor Theater

School Technology Workshop 2016 will feature training, presentations and information to help schools with their school technology initiatives, including the NJSBA TEC area, the 21st Century Classroom, the Digital Learning Revolution Bus, and more. Read about the technology features at Workshop.

Sustainable Schools Workshop 2016 will feature a new Sustainable and Healthy Schools Center on the exhibit floor. In addition to training sessions, the area will feature government agencies and non-profit organizations demonstrating their sustainability and healthy school best practices. Read more.

Mock School Board Meeting This highly entertaining session features a group of school board attorneys conducting a “mock school board meeting” and addressing sensitive topics such as student discipline, social media, transgender students, negotiations and race. Members of the audience will have an opportunity to ask school law questions of the professionals. Wednesday, Oct. 26, 1-2 p.m., Exhibit Hall Theater

Workshop Registration, Cost, and Housing The cost of Workshop group registration for boards of education and member charter schools is $1,400. Individual registration is $275. The group registration covers up to 14 team members, and may include school board members, the business administrator, superintendent, facilities manager, curriculum coordinator and technology director. School business administrators may register their team  online at any time.

More Information School officials should ask their school business administrator to register their districts for Workshop 2016 as soon as possible. Registrants are encouraged to stay connected before, during, and after the conference by downloading the Workshop 2016 mobile app. Additional information on the conference can be found on the Workshop website.

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