Fresh training, unique speakers and an app for that
Kentucky School Advocate
By Madelynn Coldiron
Nitty-gritty fundamentals and new technology: KSBA’s 2016 annual conference will showcase both as the association celebrates eight decades of providing training for school board members.
This year’s event, Feb. 26-28 at Louisville’s Galt House, will unveil the new KSBA Events App (see sidebar), feature speakers that include an artist and a former NFL football great, and offer some clinics that get down to the nuts-and-bolts level of school board service.
“I think we have some of the best clinic sessions we’ve ever had,” KSBA Board Team Development Director Kerri Schelling said. “We’re providing some fundamental, kind of hard-hitting topics that we haven’t always been able to work out in the past.”
Among those are clinics on facilities planning, model procurement and bid law, closing the achievement gap, everything board members need to know about transportation and the board’s role in the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System that evaluates educators. Several sessions will be led by school board members.
Board members also will get a fresh look at their state-mandated training topics. New modules have been developed this year for ethics, superintendent evaluation and finance. “We are holding to our commitment of having new choices. In fact, veteran board members, in theory, would not have to repeat any mandated course they’ve taken,” Schelling said.
In another change based on member feedback, the conference will offer additional clinic sessions after the Sunday brunch on each of the three mandated topics – superintendent evaluation, finance and ethics. This provides an additional training opportunity for those who stay for the Sunday brunch and, at the same time, Schelling said, “it gives them a little more latitude in what they can choose during the rest of the conference. When there are so many good options, it makes it hard to get sessions you’re interested in as well as making sure you have all your mandates.”
The tweaks in the 2016 conference don’t all relate to feeding the mind. Board members who attend pre-conference sessions, which end at noon Friday, often have little, if any, time to grab lunch before the opening session at 1 p.m. This year, arrangements have been made with the Galt House sandwich shop to offer box lunches at a special price. This meal will be listed with others to check off on the conference registration form.
Friday opening session
Opening speaker Richard Hight will kick things off with an unusual combination: motivational talk with artwork. While he presents his inspirational message, Hight, who is also an artist, will be creating an original 6-by-6-foot painting on stage. “It really demonstrates in a graphic way the importance of art in education,” Schelling noted. While Hight’s message will be left with attendees, his creation will be left with KSBA.
Saturday’s speaker will focus on a theme of trust, a quality that is pivotal for school boards, superintendents and staff in working together. David Horsager is a business strategist and author of The Trust Edge, How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line. Schelling said his presentation “will help every person who hears him, even beyond board service.”
Are you ready for some football? Sunday’s inspirational message will come from Former Denver Broncos captain and All-Pro linebacker Karl Mecklenburg, whose pro career included six Pro Bowl and three Super Bowl appearances. It’s no stretch for Mecklenburg to talk about teamwork and leadership.