The Workshop 2019 conference is now history, having provided 305 training opportunities for new and veteran school board members and school administrators, including programs on technology, student achievement, board governance, labor relations, school law, and other topics. The event attracted some 9,000 registrants, the largest number in recent memory.

Wednesday’s keynote speaker, Ian Hockley, told a rapt audience about the tragic events of Dec. 14, 2012, when his 6-year-old son Dylan, was killed, along with 19 other children and 6 adults, in a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct.  Hockley discussed the Wings of Change foundation he set up after Dylan’s death, and the Wingman program which trains students to understand and care for other students who may be experiencing isolation or other emotional difficulties.

In a presentation before a large crowd on Tuesday, New Jersey Commissioner of Education Dr. Lamont Repollet urged school officials to understand the critical importance of equity in education, and make a commitment to promote equity and opportunity for all students in their districts.

The Legislative Update session, always a favorite with Workshop attendees, featured Assemblywoman Serena Di Maso; Senator Declan O’Scanlon; Assemblywoman Carol Murphy; and Assemblyman Louis Greenwald. Michael Vrancik, NJSBA director of governmental relations, moderated a discussion which touched upon school funding, testing, pension reform, and other timely topics.

Student Involvement  Workshop 2019 also featured a record number of New Jersey’s students participating.  More than 90 teams of elementary, middle and high school students participated in STEAM Tank, the invention and innovation competition which is jointly sponsored by NJSBA and the U.S. Army, while talented student performers from Penns Grove, Newark, Matawan Regional, Bayonne, South Orange-Maplewood, Camden, and Jefferson Township dazzled audiences throughout the conference.