The upcoming annual NJSBA Workshop includes several sessions that will provide school district leaders with opportunities to hone their communication skills, gain a better understanding through more effective listening strategies and appropriate vocabulary changes, and improve overall relations with their education community.

The three-day professional training event, co-sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators and the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials, will be held virtually from Tuesday, Oct. 26 through Thursday, Oct. 28. Registration still is open with special discounted group rates available. Get more information.

All sessions will be available for one month after the conference ends, so you can catch the professional development courses that you missed or would like to see again.

Tuesday, Oct. 26

1:30 – 2:25 p.m. Understand the Impact of Your Leadership Voice: Your voice as a leader can have an impact and an influence on your school board, your district and in your community. Elevate communication style awareness and how it may be misperceived. Leave with a plan of how to better engage and connect with the communication needs of others.

Wednesday, Oct. 27

  • 9 – 9:55 a.m. Keynote address, Alisha De Lorenzo: A former educator and wellness professional who has been a popular presenter at prior NJSBA programs, De Lorenzo will focus on making social-emotional health and mindfulness a priority for students and staff, forming relationships and connections and addressing trauma.
  • 10 – 10:55 a.m. Getting Ahead of Crises: Communication Strategies That Work: In today’s world of increased access to social media and on-demand news, notice of a school district emergency can be publicly shared in a matter of minutes. This session will provide proven strategies to stay ahead of the communications curve. Participants will learn how to diffuse contentious situations, confront angry stakeholders and the importance of crafting key messages amid a crisis.
  • 11 – 11:55 a.m. Gender Identity and Pronouns: The Biggest Little Words: This session will explain gender development from a scientific and psychological perspective. It will cover gender literacy and gender vocabulary, including: cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, gender expression, gender identity and more. Finally, it will cover best practices for supporting transgender and nonbinary students in educational settings.
  • 2:30 – 3:25 p.m. Listening Circles: Processing the Trauma of COVID-19: Everyone has had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic. Participants will learn about the indigenous practice of listening circles to honor the power of storytelling and to develop empathy. Learn how listening circles can help us unpack, process and begin healing in our classrooms and our communities after traumatic events.

Thursday, Oct. 28

  • 2:30 – 3:25 p.m. What Do We Say Now? Communicating Clearly and Consistently during an Ever-Changing School Year: It has never been more important to maintain clear and consistent communication with all of your school district stakeholders. With ever-changing health and safety guidance, and COVID-19 cases going up and down in your community, it is essential that school communications be the heart of your school district operations. This presentation will assist districts in creating key messages, provide tips to keep everyone on the same message, advice on how to embrace your critics, and pointers for getting the message out effectively across various platforms.
  • 2:30 – 3:25 p.m. Communicating Effectively During Adversity: The past 19 months in education have been challenging, and school boards have had to communicate a variety of difficult messages to the public. Those challenges also may have created windows of opportunity for officials to better engage their respective stakeholders. This session will highlight how to recognize and embrace communication opportunities and put them into practice during difficult times.

Registration Details NJSBA is offering a special group rate of $900 for up to 25 team members, including school board members, superintendents, school business administrators, IT directors, facilities directors, principals, and other district staff. That’s only $36 per person. The individual member rate is $450 per person. 

New Registration Process for 2021 The group registration process for Workshop 2021 has changed. Please review the group rate registration instructions before starting if you are registering two or more team members. Select “individual” registration ONLY if you are registering one person. Registration is available online and must be handled by the business administrator.

To learn more, visit the Virtual Workshop 2021 website.