For the 40-plus years I have been an educator, one of the highlights of the year has been NJSBA’s Workshop conference, held each October. Through the decades, I have always found the training sessions to be extraordinarily informative and enjoyable, and the opportunities to speak with colleagues to be extremely valuable. Workshop 2018 will be no different.

Why should you come to Workshop? Here are eight reasons:

Training, training, and more training Workshop will offer more than 200 training and information sessions, on topics including student achievement, integrative STEAM programs, social and emotional learning, technology and cybersecurity, governance, school finance and shared services, school law, labor relations, policy, sustainability, and more.

The STEAM Tank Challenge The STEAM Tank Challenge, created and sponsored by NJSBA and the U.S. Army, encourages students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, the arts and math, and pits student invention teams against each other in a contest modeled after the “Shark Tank” television show. This popular program attracted more than 400 entrants this year. Watch the 90 finalists compete in the I-STEAM Green Command Center on the exhibit floor.

Mandated Training School board members and charter school trustees in their first term of office, as well as members in the first year of a reappointed/re-elected term can fulfill their state-mandated training requirements at Workshop. Governance I mandated training is on Monday, Oct. 22 while Governance II, III and IV mandated training programs will be offered on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 25. Registration for Mandated Training must be handled separately.

A Conversation with the Commissioner On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Dr. Lamont Repollet will address the Workshop crowd. He will then sit down for an informal question-and-answer session with NJSBA’s director of governmental relations, Michael Vrancik.

Keynote Speaker, Steven Van ZandtBest known as an influential member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and for his portrayal of Silvio Dante in HBO’s The Sopranos, Steven Van Zandt has also had a long-time passion for education. Building on his many years in the music business, he has spent nearly a decade working with a team of educators to create a history of rock and roll curriculum, with interdisciplinary lessons featuring the legendary musicians who are at the heart of the story. He also was the 2017 commencement speaker at Rutgers University. Hear Steven’s inspiring message on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Future Ready Schools – NJ This year, the Future Ready Schools – NJ certification cycle has more than 200 school certification submissions. Watch the awards ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 23 on the Workshop stage. Learn how your school or district can become “Future Ready” by visiting the Future Ready-NJ Center on the exhibit floor.

Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries Film Festival NJSBA has teamed up with Steven Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and to produce the Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries Film Festival, taking place on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. This exciting new event features films by students that create a portrait of their town’s musical history.

Training for your entire team Workshop 2018 has something for every member of the district team. That includes school board members (who can earn Board Member Academy credits); business administrators (who can earn Qualified Purchasing Agent credits); superintendents; principals; charter school trustees and lead persons; school technology professionals; school facilities managers (who can earn Certified Educational Facilities Manager Professional Development credits); curriculum directors; teachers and more. Your Workshop registration can include 20 people from your district.