M E D I A    A D V I S O R Y

Workshop 2016: Recognizing the Value of Every Student

October 25-27

Atlantic City Convention Center

A panel discussion featuring leaders of New Jersey’s Legislature, a conversation with the new acting Commissioner of Education, and the introduction of Future Ready Schools—New Jersey,  a statewide initiative to encourage and support digital learning are among the highlights of the New Jersey School Boards Association’s annual Workshop conference, October 25-27, at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Workshop 2016 will be the largest training conference for New Jersey’s local school officials. It is expected to draw more than 7,500 attendees. The conference is 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.

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.

Credential representatives of the news media are encouraged to cover Workshop 2016 on October 25 and 26. To obtain further information, contact Ann Marie Smith of the NJSBA Communications Department at (609) 278-5209 or amsmith@njsba.org

Highlights of Workshop 2016

Tuesday, October 25

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. 2-3:30 p.m., Exhibit Hall Theater

Interactive eLearning Presentation Workshop will explore eLearning 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, interactive presentation using the power of technology. 11 a.m. – Noon, Exhibit Hall Theater

Panel Discussion with the State Board of Education  The president and members of the New Jersey State Board of Education, which is responsible for adopting the rules and regulations governing public education, will participate in a panel discussion on current educational issues. 11 a.m.-Noon, Room 305-306

Mitigating the Impact of Declining Enrollment in Your District  A number of school districts are experiencing sharp decreases in student population. This session, led by NJSBA field service representatives, will focus on solutions and strategies to assist school boards in addressing the financial and educational challenges of declining enrollment. 11 a.m.-Noon, Room 413

Keeping Children Safe, One School at a Time  Student safety and school security are paramount concerns for education leaders. Representatives of the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning, which works in conjunction with the Office of Homeland Security, the State Police, and the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force, will discuss security protocols and best practices. 11 a.m.-Noon, Room 417

Current Issues in School Law  Whether the subject is school ethics, student rights and discipline or labor relations, the laws affecting public education are constantly evolving. NJSBA staff attorneys will present an update on recent legal decisions and legislative developments affecting boards of education and charter schools. 1-2 p.m., Room 410

Student Achievement and Collective Bargaining  Collective bargaining can promote student achievement and teacher quality. NJSBA labor relations staff will explore contractual provisions that enhance educational quality. 4-5 p.m., Room 413

Wednesday, October 26

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 S.T.E.M. (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 legend 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. 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Exhibit Floor Theater

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. 1-2:30 p.m., Room 305-306

TEACHNJ Four Years Later: What Have We Learned?  When the state enacted TEACHNJ, the tenure reform law, in 2012, the Legislature declared its purpose was “to raise student achievement by improving instruction.” Proponents expected that the new law would also reduce the time and cost of removing ineffective teachers. Two experienced school attorneys will address whether or not TEACHNJ has achieved these goals. 11 a.m.–Noon, Room 413

Bullying: Lessons from TV Land  An experienced school attorney and two school board members, this session will use video clips from classic TV shows and movies to illustrate the key legal principles and latest developments concerning harassment, intimidation and bullying. 9:30-10:30 a.m., Room 410

School-Municipal Cooperation: Energy-Saving Improvement Programs  Co-sponsored by NJSBA and the N.J. State League of Municipalities, this session will feature a panel of education and municipal officials and energy experts discussing how collaborative alternative energy projects and efficiency upgrades help sustain the state’s schools and communities. 11 a.m.-Noon, Room 305-306

A Conversation about Standards and Assessment  Schools are aligning their curriculum and instruction to the revised English language arts and math standards, and using PARCC data to inform instructional decisions. The state education department’s chief academic officer and the director of teaching and learning support will discuss standards and assessment and the local school boards’ role in the process. 11 a.m.-Noon, Room 418

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. 1-2 p.m., Exhibit Hall Theater

Introducing Future Ready Schools – New Jersey Future Ready Schools-New Jersey—a partnership among the New Jersey Department of Education,  the New Jersey School Boards Association and the New Jersey Institute of Technology—will promote digital learning in public schools. The initiative will make its debut at Workshop 2016. 1-2 p.m., Room 418

Other Workshop 2016 sessions will include:

  • Drinking Water Rules: What Needs to Be Done, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m.-Noon, Room 414
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Wednesday, Oct. 26, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Room 418
  • Bringing STEM Within Reach of All Students, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Room 421
  • Partnering with Municipalities: Understanding the Politics and Making It Happen, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 11a.m. – 12 p.m. , Room 410
  • Board Meetings Gone Wild: Can Their Governance Be Tamed? Tuesday, Oct. 25, 1-2 p.m., Room 415
  • Parents on Premises: Increasing Parental Involvement inSchools, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 1-2 p.m., Room 410
  • What Every Board Member Needs to Know About Special Education, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 4-5 p.m., Room 413


The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.

The New Jersey School Boards Association has conducted Workshop since 1953. It was joined in sponsorship of the annual conference by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators in 1978 and by the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials the following year.