NJEA ConventionLooking to better incorporate technology in your classroom? Interested in new strategies for reaching a diverse student population? Need some ideas for class trips? Thinking about registering for graduate courses? Want to do some shopping for your classroom?

You can do it all – and more – at the NJEA Convention on Nov. 10-11 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The 2011 NJEA Convention boasts over 300 high-quality professional development workshops. The opportunity to register in advance for a limited number of selected workshops continues this year. If you’ve ever arrived at a workshop you looked forward to attending only to discover the room is full, you may want to give advanced registration a try. Information about preregistration will be available in the NJEA Convention program, due out in October. It’s a good idea to arrive early for your workshops and to have a back-up plan just in case your first choice has reached its legal seating capacity.

Wear comfortable shoes so you won’t miss a thing on the exhibit floor. This year, over 700 vendors and exhibitors will be on hand to share resources and materials. Also on the exhibit floor be sure to visit the Great Ideas Forum to learn about exciting new projects from previous NJEA Hipp Foundation grant winners. Purchase books from NJEA member-authors in Authors’ Alley. Learn about the many ways your NJEA membership can enhance your professional life and more in the NJEA Services Center. 

PLENARY SPEAKERS FEATURE EDUCATION AUTHOR, FREEDOM WRITER

NJEA ConventionThis year, NJEA is proud to again feature a plenary session each day of the convention at 11:30 a.m. On Thursday, education historian and author Diane Ravitch addresses members. Since the publication of her most recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education last year, Ravitch has served as the voice of reason in the education reform debate.

Once an assistant secretary of education and counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, Ravitch led the education standards movement and hailed the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act. But after witnessing the damaging effects of the nation’s obsession with standardized testing, Ravitch has become a lone voice in her defense of public education and teachers as she calls for a research-based approach to education reform. Ravitch is currently a research professor of education at New York University.  

NJEA ConventionOn Friday, one of California teacher Erin Gruell’s original “freedom writers,” Manuel V. Scott, will share his inspirational story of overcoming great obstacles to achieve success. At the age of fourteen, Scott dropped out of school, and his English grammar was so poor that he was classified as an English as a Second Language student. By age 16, he had lived in 26 different places and used drugs and alcohol.

 Since then, Scott has defied all the odds stacked against him. The high school dropout now holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Trinity International University and is currently working on his Ph.D. Scott’s is an against-the-odds story of immeasurable courage, strength, and determination to overcome extreme adversity. His message leaves audiences not only awed and inspired, but also moved towards change.

Child Care

This year, NJEA has enlisted the services of Accent Childcare Services to offer NJEA members attending the convention low-cost child care. Accent is the official childcare provider at the NEA Representative Assembly and has over 20 years’ experience in providing child care at conventions and other large-scale events. The cost is $20 per child per day. To take advantage of this service, you must preregister on njeaconvention.org. Preregistration opens when the NJEA Convention program is published in early October. Limited space is available.

High Tech Hall features Teacher-to-Teacher Learning Lab

If the words podcasting, moodle, wiki, prezi, and glog sound like a foreign language, you need to spend some time in High Tech Hall on the convention floor. Each year, High Tech Hall grows bigger and better. In the Technology Integration Showcase, sponsored by the N.J. Center for Teaching and Learning, NJEA members will demonstrate how they have successfully integrated technology into their instruction.

In the Thinkfinity Classroom you’ll have the opportunity to learn how you can use Thinkfinity.org to enhance student learning. In the Dell Connected Classroom NJEA members and others will show many exciting ways to use technology for lively instruction.

This year, High Tech Hall has grown to include the Teacher-to-Teacher Learning Lab where member-presenters will give one-hour presentations showcasing their use of technology in classroom instruction.

Address the State Board, Commissioner

The N.J. State Board of Education and the Commissioner of Education usually hold their meetings during the school day, making it nearly impossible for educators to attend. Now is your chance to address the board and commissioner directly and ask them questions about policies and initiatives that impact your classroom.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 202, members of the State Board of Education will conduct a panel discussion to answer NJEA members’ questions.

Acting Commissioner of Education Christopher Cerf is scheduled to conduct a session on Friday, Nov. 11, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Room 202.

Hipp Foundation Celebration of Excellence

Celebrate the successes of New Jersey educators and public schools at the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation’s Celebration of Excellence on Friday, Nov. 11, at 1:30 p.m. in the Sheraton’s Crown Ballroom. This uplifting event is just a short walk over the convention center bridge.

NJEA President Barbara Keshishian will deliver her keynote address. Meet the 2011-12 N.J. State Teacher of the Year. You will also learn about the 2011-12 NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation grant winners and their innovative new projects.

NJEA will also recognize its Awards for Excellence winners. Awards for Excellence recognize successful New Jersey public school graduates who have excelled in their professions. This year’s recipients include: award-winning writer and editor of books for children and young adults, Lee Bennett Hopkins; Wendy J. Galloway, who currently serves as the Director of Programs for the N.J. Department of State; and nationally-renowned educator, educational consultant, and motivational speaker Principal Baruti Kafele.

If you plan on being a day-tripper, check with your county education association to see if it is chartering a bus to Atlantic City for the NJEA Convention. Information about parking and public transportation can be found in the 2011 NJEA Convention program which you will receive in October. You can also visit njeaconvention.org for more information.