I have attended 21 Workshop conferences, and every single one has provided training and information that has helped me serve my community and its students. This year’s conference will be no different.

NJSBA has recently announced that the Workshop keynote speaker will be Anna Maria Chávez, the chief executive officer of the National School Boards Association. She is a dynamic and engaging speaker, and will be a terrific addition to the program. She is one of many reasons to attend Virtual Workshop 2020. Here are five more:

Because you need the training more than ever The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the challenges facing school boards to a whole new level. All the difficulties we’ve encountered before–stretching tight budgets, educating students for careers that don’t even exist yet, ensuring equity for all students, meeting the needs of students with disabilities, and other challenges — still exist. But now we face the unique obstacles of educating students in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years.

Workshop will help you confront these problems. There will be sessions covering digital and distance learning, equity, special education, cybersecurity, cost-savings, school finance, social and emotional learning, sustainability, integrative STEAM education, board governance, policy, and more. The Workshop team is in the midst of crafting timely and informative programs, and helping presenters make the most of the unique online conference platform NJSBA will be using.

Because your whole team can come — and get credit The group registration provides access for up to 25 team members, including school board members, superintendents, administrators, IT directors, and other district staff. Board members will be able to earn NJSBA Board Member Academy credit. School business administrators can obtain Qualified Purchasing Agent (QPA) credits, and facilities managers will have opportunities to earn Certified Educational Facilities Managers (CEFM) credits. At the group rate, the registration fee equates to $36 per person — an incredible value for top-notch professional development.

Because you can still network with fellow board members Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned at Workshop came from talking with my fellow board members, comparing notes on how other boards handled a problem. These informal conversations will still happen through the chat functions of the conference platform, including county association activities.

Because you can still interact with the Exhibit Floor vendors Over the years, I’ve had conversations with vendors on the Exhibit Floor that resulted in saving money for my district. One year, I learned about a treatment that made our gym floor finish last longer — that saved my district time and money. This year’s Workshop will enable participants to talk with vendors about pandemic-related services, such as distance-learning resources and cleaning services. You will be able to virtually visit the Exhibit Floor booths and interact live with knowledgeable vendors.

Because registrants can access the program content for a full year! If you’ve ever felt like there was more than one or more Workshop sessions you wanted to attend, but could not because of a scheduling conflict — you’re not alone. All sessions at this year’s Virtual Workshop will be available on demand for a full year after the event concludes. That means team members can access any presentation at their convenience.

Registration for NJSBA’s Virtual Workshop 2020 is now open at virtualworkshop.njsba.org. I look forward to seeing you (online) in October.