Pre-Conference Workshops

Friday, March 29

All pre-conference workshops are ticketed events. They are open to all conference registrants, and tickets must be purchased in advance.


National Connection/CUBE $270, Regular $320

Pre-Conference No. 1: The Happiness Advantage – Orange Frog Workshop

A positive engaged brain is the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy. It is ESSENTIAL in rapidly changing environments and is needed in education today more than ever before. The Happiness Advantage | Orange Frog workshop provides a blueprint for increasing staff, faculty, classroom and community engagement as well as tapping into people's intrinsic motivations.  This experiential workshop teaches the science of sustainable peak performance. The research is clear. Positive environments are performance enhancers. They are characterized by higher productivity, less turnover and absenteeism, and more resilient cultures. Applying the latest research-based techniques from the field of positive psychology, individuals learn the practices of resilient leaders and learners; they become more adaptable and develop a capacity to “see” more opportunities, leading to better organizational and educational outcomes. We invite you to experience the largest and most successful positive psychology training program for educators to date in the world. Begin an exciting journey leading to more positive environments, interconnected success and better educational outcomes.

Pre-Conference No. 2:  Release Your Inner Speaker – A Guide to Better Public Speaking Skills for Board Members

This six-hour workshop will guide attendees to better public speaking skills that will focus on identifying the voice of the school board member, different levels to listening, types of public speaking, elements of storytelling and how to speak to the media – what to say and when to say it. Participants will also understand the elements and techniques to the "instant speech" approach and interview in front of a live camera during this workshop.


National Connection/CUBE: $175, Regular: $195
Unless otherwise noted.

Pre-Conference No. 3Could You Last a Month in Poverty?

Walk a mile in the shoes of your students in this unique, interactive poverty simulation that enables you to live for a “month” in poverty. In four 15-minute weeks, you will play the role of a low-income family member trying to make ends meet. The session includes a group discussion about the challenges your students and their families face and how that can factor into your board’s work.

Pre-Conference No. 4: Building a High-Impact Board-Superintendent Partnership

Presenter Doug Eadie, President & CEO of Doug Eadie & Company, Inc., drawing on his most recent K-12 leadership book – Governing at the Top – will provide participants with up-to-date information on significant developments in the rapidly changing field of K-12 governance and with detailed, practical, thoroughly tested guidance on building and maintaining a close, productive, and enduring board-superintendent partnership.

Pre-Conference No. 5: Mining Treasures in CSR: Timely, Curriculum-based. Free!

Through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, great companies, foundations and associations build great resources for schools. Meaningful material for teachers and entirely free. Dynamic tools for STEM; financial literacy; environmental education; Social Emotional Learning; life skills; college/workforce; computational thinking; the NFL; and more. Lessons/modules by grade level/theme. Get materials, links and information about great collaborations between great curriculum writers and the masters of the world outside school. These programs bring meaning from the real world to students in classrooms.

Pre-Conference No. 6: 21st Century Communication to Build Relationships

How can your district use 21st century communication tools to most effectively and responsibly engage with your stakeholders and build relationships?  Join New Jersey School Boards Association's Field Services team to learn and share best practices and engage in hands-on exercises developed from working directly with school districts like yours.

Pre-Conference No. 7: Board Actions DO Matter: How What You Do Impacts Student Success

Research has demonstrated that school boards that set and follow high standards for themselves, measure their own progress, and continually work to improve their performance truly make a difference in student outcomes. Learn about the work being done in Washington, Idaho and Montana that links highly-effective board practices with higher academic achievement for students. Walk away with sample board standards, information about board self-assessment, and the research that indicates their effectiveness.

Pre-Conference No. 8: It's Not Just What You Do...It's How You Do it:  Strategies to Take Your Governance Team to the Next Level

What's your board's culture?  What practices do you have in place to align your work, engage your stakeholders, and focus on student success?  It's not just what you do, but it's how you do it that can make the greatest difference. Whether it is working as a team, strategic improvement planning, using technology and data, engaging stakeholders, establishing sound board policies, conducting effective meetings, or conducting board/superintendent evaluations, what you do and how you do it matters.  Take your board to the next level.

Pre-Conference No. 9:  Follow the Blueprint for a More Successful Planning Process and Better Long-Term Results

From readiness to celebration, the session will walk through a 9-step blueprint for selecting strategies and monitoring metrics while creating high levels of staff and community involvement. Participants will focus on inspiring greater buy-in and will leave with a readiness checklist, sample planning calendar, school culture questionnaire, values identification tool, sample logic model, sample community asset map, and enhanced engagement techniques

Pre-Conference No. 11: Is Your Board Prepared for a Crisis?

A teacher is a porn star.  A tornado hits your district.  The flu overtakes your district.  A coach has sex with a student.  All of these are actual events that schools have faced or will face.  What does your board need to do now to prepare for any crisis that may come your way?  Learn policies, procedures, and other systems to make sure are in place so that your district can do its best to prevent, prepare for, and react to any crisis.

National Connection/CUBE: $200, Regular: $220

Pre-Conference No. 12: Know Thine “Cyber” Enemy: Securing Your Practices and Policies

School districts are a high-risk target for cyberthreats.  Districts are data-rich, containing personnel/student records, medical information, evaluations, testing results, and more. Threats can come from around the world or right in your own buildings.  For districts to be effective, you must have commitment from the leadership to put into place policies and mechanisms to combat the threats.  It requires necessary resources and procedures, and it is up to the governance team, board members and the superintendent to lead the charge. 

Rural District Forum  1:00 – 4:00 PM

National Connection/CUBE $50, Regular $175

New Thinking about Unique Challenges 

Do you have a challenge facing your district? Or changes you are trying to implement? 

If so, then the Rural District Forum is for you!  This focused session with Dr. Mary Ann Wolf and Nancy Mangum of the Friday Institute will introduce you to how the design thinking process can be utilized by school leaders to find new solutions to the unique challenges faced by many rural districts.  As we look at innovative approaches being utilized by schools across the country, you will have the opportunity to learn with other rural leaders and collaborate with them as you tackle challenges facing your schools. This interactive and job-embedded session will equip you with the necessary skills to tackle your specific challenges.

The Friday Institute conducts research and fosters collaborations to improve education and the local economy with a special focus on the needs of rural communities. They highlight the work of districts that are using creative and innovative ways to engage their communities in improving and updating their schools to prepare their students for careers, college, and citizenship in the rapidly changing, global, and technological age in which they live.


National Connection/CUBE: $175, Regular: $195
Unless otherwise noted.

Pre-Conference No. 10: New School Board Member Boot Camp:  Ethical Challenges and Solutions for School Board Members

Ethical and appropriate behavior for school board members is expected. Yet challenges sometimes arise that can interfere with important work getting accomplished. Join us for a fun, interactive session with your colleagues and members of the NSBA Board Member Boot Camp Faculty as we explore ways to avoid those challenges.

Pre-Conference No. 13: Disrupting Poverty: The Board’s Role in Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools

If high-poverty schools in every state can overcome the powerful and pervasive effects of poverty to become high performing, shouldn’t every school be able to do the same? How do districts overcome the powerful, pervasive effects of poverty and reverse all too common trends of under-achievement? Participants will explore the critical role School Boards play in both guiding and supporting district leadership to drive and accomplish this work. Based on the award winning, best-selling ASCD books, Disrupting Poverty: 5 Powerful Classroom Practices and Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools, the author will share lessons learned from three decades of studying schools and districts across the nation and world that successfully disrupt poverty.

National Connection/CUBE: $200, Regular: $225

Pre-Conference No. 14: What Every School Board Member Should Know about School Law Now

This popular program, presented by members of the NSBA Council of School Attorneys, provides an overview of key principles of school law, and an in-depth look at several issues of key significance today.  Participants will walk away with a better awareness of the questions you should be asking your school attorney before problems arise.

Pre-Conference No. 15: Equity in Schools: A Primer for School Boards

For more than 100 years, schools have aimed to be places that ensure equity for all graduates. Equity, as a concept, is widely used in school mission statements, strategic plans, and statements of shared values. When discussing equity, people cite race, gender, community norms, English language proficiency, poverty, and access to technology, to name a few. When people call for equity, there is a substantial difference in how the term is defined. There is little agreement as to what equity means.

In order to galvanize all our stakeholders into collective action around the concept, we must have a shared definition. Without that shared understanding and aligned plans, measures, and benchmarks, the term is merely rhetoric.

This seminar will consider how diversity, inclusion, or equality are components of equity.  We will examine equity as ensuring that each student gets what they need to flourish and be resilient. We will explore having access to opportunity, networks, resources, and supports (both tangible and intangible) to get them to be whom they want to be and go where they desire to go. Social-emotional learning, academic development, and equity are complementary and interdependent. School boards will identify ways that these are mutually reinforcing and guaranteed.

Pre-Conference No. 16: Forest Park SD 91 is a Highly Effective School Board: "Duh", They Use the Eight Characteristics in Every Aspect of Their School Board Governance Work

Forest Park School District 91 is a suburban district located in northeastern Illinois, 30 miles west of Chicago.  There are 837 students enrolled in the district: 50% Black, 22.3% White, 13.5% Hispanic, 9.6% two or more races, and 4.2% Asian.  Learn how Forest Park SD 91 has used the Eight Characteristics of Effective School Boards (ECESB) to maintain their student achievement during the educational reform period in Illinois and significant demographic changes during the last 5 years.  Learn how you can use the ECESB to improve your district.

Pre-Conference No. 17: What School Boards Can Do to Improve Student Achievement

School boards play a vital role for improving student achievement in their districts. In fact, they play a role that no one else can fulfill. Learn from the latest research of TASB's XG Project how school boards affect student achievement and how boards can improve the achievement of their students. Participants will interact with the content of the research and design strategies for improving governance and oversight that maximizes student learning.

Pre-Conference No. 18: Leading with Purpose

Purpose matters! The prerequisite of the District Leadership Team is to identify challenges, communicate goals, commit resources, and create a culture for learning. A purpose driven leader models their beliefs and values through their actions and words.  This interactive session will engage participants in the discussion of essential leadership qualities, effective board governance standards, and best practice solutions to empower you in your leadership role.

Pre-Conference No. 19: Understanding the Key Work of School Boards

In today's high-stakes educational environment, the daily pressure on governance leaders is enormous. The more effective the board, the better a school district's students perform. NSBA's The Key Work of School Boards provides a framework that reflects “best governance practices”; that are traceable to high performing boards and high performing school districts.   This session provides an overview of a relevant and reliable governance guide with strategies and ideas that reflect board best practices. You'll explore the five Key Work action areas that affirm how excellence at the board table leads to excellence in the classroom.

Pre-Conference No. 20: Effective Engagement is the Secret Sauce in the Achievement Recipe

When community, staff, and student engagement practices are aligned, student achievement soars.  One study marked a 50% differential in test scores.  This session will discuss the research-based and proven practices which significantly boost community confidence, staff optimism, and student motivation.  Participants will receive a community discussion guide, a sample community asset map, accountability metrics, a partnership development guide, and successful examples from several districts.

Pre-Conference No. 21: Is Your Board Prepared For A Crisis?

A teacher is a porn star.  A tornado hits your district.  The flu overtakes your district.  A coach has sex with a student.  All of these are actual events that schools have faced or will face.  What does your board need to do now to prepare for any crisis that may come your way?  Learn policies, procedures, and other systems to make sure are in place so that your district can do its best to prevent, prepare for, and react to any crisis.

National Connection/CUBE: $200, Regular: $225

Pre-Conference No. 22: Your Business Will Never Be The Same: Hot Technologies 2019

How are you keeping up with the technological advancements that impact your job and career?  Do you find that you’re barely able to keep pace with the latest developments?  This session reviews what’s new and way cool in technology in this fun, fast-paced look at what’s here for us to use now and what’s coming in the near future, including the latest information about virtual & augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and other important tech trends.

Pre-Conference No. 23: Multi-Generational Community Engagement: How to Tell Your Story!
How do you stay informed? Newspapers, blogs, television, Twitter? How do the members of your community gather information? If you rely solely on newsletters sent home with your students, you are not connecting with a sizable portion of your community. We will discuss how you can access the various tools available to create a multi-generational community engagement plan, reaching each of your constituent generations, and being able to "Tell your Story."

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