KSBA's 2017 Annual Conference

KSBA's 2017 Annual Conference

 
Kentucky School Advocate
January 2017
 
By Madelynn Coldiron
Staff writer
 
Please leave your capes at home. Displays of superpowers are optional.

Otherwise, school board members and other education leaders should be prepared for learning and inspiration as they gather for the 81st KSBA Annual Conference under the theme of “Be a Superhero for Public Education!”

“People seem to love the theme – it’s really resonating with people,” noted Kerri Schelling, who spearheads the conference as KSBA’s director of Board Team Development. “Several of the workshops have incorporated the theme in their title.”

The Feb. 24–26 event at Louisville’s Galt House features some new clinic offerings, more school district involvement, a few tweaks to the traditional and a trio of diverse general session speakers.

What’s new

New clinic offerings this year will include fresh takes on the state-mandated training areas of finance, superintendent evaluation and ethics.

In addition to a retooled basic session on superintendent evaluation, there will be a new one for veteran board members designed around real-life scenarios (the actual players will remain anonymous). “They will talk about things that actually happened in districts, with details changed, and talk about what as a board they would do, how they would handle that, and then hear what actually came out of the situation,” Schelling said.

The newer finance offerings focus on the annual financial audit, the finances of energy and going beyond the monthly financial report. The basic ethics class has been revamped and new advanced ethics training deals with legal and ethical considerations for board members. The pre-conference session called All Together Now, which combines each mandated training area in its three-hour block, also is being retooled, with one strand geared to new board members with three years’ experience or less, and the other to more experienced members.

“We’re trying to better accommodate members’ levels of preparation and experience,” Schelling explained.

Those won’t be the only new offerings.

“We’re excited that this year’s lineup has workshop topics not addressed before or not addressed as fully,” she said. One of those topics is diversity and equity, “and how a board can use its policy-making authority in an informed, thoughtful manner in partnership with their communities and district staff.”

Other sessions will bring school board members up to date on how the new state school accountability system is coming together, and on early childhood efforts. And, in perfect timing halfway through the 2017 legislative session, there will be a clinic updating attendees on how that is progressing.

There will also be a larger than average number of districts showcasing their programs, projects or progress in clinics, Schelling noted.

In a new scheduling twist, the annual business meeting will be held during the Saturday luncheon, instead of as a separate block of time at the end. The idea is to streamline the proceedings, Schelling said. And with the installation of a new president this year – David Webster of Simpson County – the President’s Reception will again be held following the last clinic session on Saturday.

Back by popular demand
Some changes implemented last year proved to be a big hit and will return for the 2017 conference. The mandatory training topics were offered for the first time following the Sunday brunch session and were so well-attended that they are being brought back.

For the folks who don’t have time to grab lunch between Friday’s pre-conference sessions and the opening general session, the grab-and-go box lunches that were offered last year will again be on hand. Look for them on the registration form.

The use of the KSBA Events App, unveiled at last year’s annual conference, continues to be available, giving members access to the schedule, clinic locations, vendors, updates and more. Students from Jefferson County schools again will function as a roving app team to help members use the technology on their devices. 
 
Speaking of which ...
 
Variety is the byword when it comes to this year’s annual conference speakers. It’s virtually certain that the lineup has never – at least not in the same year – included a mountain climber whose survival story has been featured on an Animal Planet show, a psychologist-slash-humorist, and a scholar turned author, speaker and television host.
Friday Opening Session kick off
Bruce Christopher is a clinical psychologist who offers “comedy with content” and has been called “America’s foremost enter-trainer.” His technique combines strategies and solutions for success with humor. This will be reflected in his KSBA Opening Session, titled, “Are we having fun yet? Attitude, humor and peak performance.” Christopher will examine the power of a positive attitude and how it can shape lives.

With degrees in both professional psychology and interpersonal communication, Christopher has spoken to groups ranging from the Royal College of Surgeons in London to the Million Dollar Round Table Conference.
Saturday Plenary Session
Saturday’s plenary speaker grew up poor and was told by a high school teacher that she was not college material. Dr. Bertice Berry’s success in several career fields proved the teacher wrong.

Berry’s first career was teaching sociology and statistics at her alma mater, Kent State University, where she was such a popular instructor – combining her talents as a scholar with humor – that the university had to find larger lecture halls for her classes.

After her work in education, she went on to become a comedienne, hosted and co-produced her own nationally syndicated talk show, and hosted a four-hour live interview and entertainment show on USA cable network.

Berry is also the best-selling author of an inspirational memoir, I’m On My Way, But Your Foot Is on My Head, and has written other well-received books of fiction and nonfiction. She donates the royalties from her book sales to organizations that help families in transition, raise funds for scholarships, and provide resource information to low-income families.
Sunday Brunch Session
Jim Davidson is a resilience expert, author, adventure speaker and expedition leader whose 30 years of high-altitude climbs and rescues have included leading expeditions to Alaska, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico and Nepal, and summiting the sixth-highest peak in the world. He survived a 7.8-magnitude earthquake and avalanches while climbing Mt. Everest.

The story of Davidson saving himself from inside an 80-feet deep glacial crevasse was featured in a one-hour episode of I Shouldn’t Be Alive on Animal Planet.

His career has included stints as an environmental consultant and training workshop leader, and he has been a keynote speaker and trainer since 1990. The focus of his KSBA speech will be resilience, aimed at increasing the ability to survive and thrive in work and personal life.
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