Inside the cavernous exhibit hall at the AASA national conference in New Orleans, attendees will find the Knowledge Exchange Theatre, the social media lounge, roundtable presentations and more than 190 exhibitors ready to answer questions about services and products.
“It’s a once-a-year opportunity for administrators to find out about new products and to provide exhibitors with insight into the challenges and opportunities of running a school system,” said Chris Daw, assistant executive director of conferences and divisional initiatives. “It’s all in one place, so it’s super convenient.”
Technology, assessment, educational and administrative software, financial services, facility and grounds maintenance, transportation, dropout prevention, professional development, school safety and public health are among the categories with experts at the conference. Industry, nonprofits and government are represented. (See pages 80-90 of the conference program book and the addendum for the full roster.)
Conference-goers will find high-interest programming in the Knowledge Exchange Theatre. On Thursday, March 2, three prominent superintendents will hold a panel discussion on innovative strategies to close the homework gap. Panelists are Pam Moran, superintendent, Albemarle County School District in Charlottesville, Va., a 2016 finalist for Superintendent of the Year; Darryl Adams, superintendent of Coachella Valley Unified School District in Themal, Calif.; and Devin Vodicka, superintendent of Vista, Calif., Unified School District. Other sessions on hot topics will be held in the Knowledge Exchange Center of the exhibit hall. (See pages 10-11 of the program book.)
Tucked in one corner of the exhibit hall are a dozen roundtables that seat eight individuals for brief discussions. These 30-minute sessions cover a full range of topics, including social-emotional learning, makerspaces, Twitter use in education, transgender students and leadership intelligence. (See pages 66-78 for details.)
For school leaders interested in cost containment, AASA School Solution Center partners NJPA and HMS are on site. NJPA, a public agency, offers cooperative contract purchasing services and HMS provides cost-containment services on health plans.
An internet station is located on the floor of the NCE marketplace so attendees are able to check e-mail. Tech-savvy educators and wannabees should take advantage of the personal hands-on help at the Social Media Lounge.
On Thursday, exhibit hall hours are 8-10:45 a.m. and 12:15-5 p.m.; on Friday, hours are 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. For those who need their morning coffee, it is available in the NCE Marketplace from 8-8:45 a.m. on Thursday, and 10-10:45 a.m. on Friday.
(By Liz Griffin, senior reporter for Conference Daily Online.)