Best Day/Times To Hold Teacher Training Conferences

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MarkLakewood336, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. MarkLakewood336

    MarkLakewood336 Rookie

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    When are the bests days/times to hold teacher training conferences? Should it be during school days or after school hours/weekends? Thanks.
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    It totally depends... If it's something a school district is requiring of its teachers, then it should be offered during the school day (or a stipend should be offered if it is held outside of the regular contracted schedule). If it's something that teachers are going to opt to do on their own, something their district would not approve them taking time off of work to attend and would not pay for, then it should be offered after school hours, during breaks, or on weekends.

    The have been trainings that I've wanted to attend but chose not to because I knew that my school wouldn't let me take the day off, and I knew that they wouldn't pay for it. Had those same trainings been on a non-work day AND offered for free or a reasonable cost, I likely would have attended. I've also been to trainings that my district required, and it was only acceptable because they paid for it and got me a sub, if one was needed.
     
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  4. MarkLakewood336

    MarkLakewood336 Rookie

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    Thank you so much for your reply. What if the district doesn't necessarily require attendance but the event can be used for professional training hours that the district may pay for? Given this scenario, would it be best to hold this training during school hours or after school/weekends? Thanks.
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Again, it's going to depend.

    If the cost is reasonable for teachers to pay out of pocket and you expect high-interest from teachers, then you might try offering it outside of regular school hours so that they can attend with or without their school district's permission. You will likely get only the most passionate teachers or those who need the hours because a lot of teachers don't want to have to do work-related trainings in the evening, on the weekend, or during the summer. Those who a truly passionate or need the hours are still likely to attend, assuming they can afford it.

    If you are charging something that most teachers cannot afford and you are reasonably certain that districts with the funds would allow their teachers to attend (meaning they will get a sub for the day), then you might try offering it during the school day. You are more likely to administrators, instructional coaches, or other staff members who don't need subs if you hold it during the regular school day, as most schools wouldn't allow multiple teachers to be gone for the day, if they even allow any at all.

    Without know more about what the training is and how much it will cost teachers or districts, it is kind of hard to say what would be best.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 24, 2019

    Get sub coverage during the school day, do some PD, the push into a classroom to give new learning a try/watch it...
     
  7. MarkLakewood336

    MarkLakewood336 Rookie

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    The fee is always the issue. We conduct a bullying prevention conference with the addition of school violence and suicide prevention all in one. It has been our experience that school districts typically pay for their staff to attend almost 100% of the time. However, it is always best to assume that school staff will need to pay out of pocket. Given that this is an onsite conference, it has been a real challenge juggling the overhead costs along with charging a fee that school staff can afford.

    What we have been doing and for the most part, has been working is that we hold the conference twice on a school day, once in the morning and once in the evening taking advantage of those who cannot attend during the school day. Sometimes, we fill the evening conference and other times, only a couple register. However, the morning session is almost entirely full.

    I just reviewed several conferences online and found that most are held on Saturdays. That is what got me thinking that perhaps we should focus on the weekends. But, selecting a fee that is affordable yet pay our overhead has been the biggest issue.

    I have considered scheduling webinars as this would take care of most of the overhead expenses. I have conducted several of them but I just can't get used to them. I also have found it more difficult getting folks to register for them. I really like the face to face interaction that onsite conferences offer.

    I realize that this is fairly subjective based on a variety of variables, but in your opinion, what would be a reasonable cost to charge school staff? Thanks.
     
  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    If I am paying out of pocket, it has to a) really interest me and/or propel my career in some way, and b) cost $99 or less (unless I'm going to gain financially by attending, such as when earning college credits will advance me on the salary schedule... in that case, I would be willing to pay more).
     
  9. MarkLakewood336

    MarkLakewood336 Rookie

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    Thank you so much for your helpful feedback We have also been considering event sponsorship. Should we acquire enough sponsors per conference that would cover our overhead costs, we then could provide the conference for free. Even if we acquire some sponsorship money, we would be able to drastically lower our fee. This would be a lot less stressful for us than always banking on a specific number of registrants.
     
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  10. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Yeah, I almost 100% wouldn't go if held during the weekend or during any other day off from school. I get enough PD hours during the year without doing anything extra. If it meant taking off a day from work to attend then I'd probably do it as long as it was approved by the school so I didn't have to use my personal time. I think it will depend on the school and which teachers are desperate for PD hours.
     
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  11. MarkLakewood336

    MarkLakewood336 Rookie

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    Thank you for your feedback.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Since you are trying to draw participants from multiple schools or districts, your best bet would be to get several districts to make it mandatory, possibly taking the place of other inservice days that are in the calendar already. I have attended these kind of workshops on my own, if the topic is relevant to me, but the example you are using should really be a conference that would predominantly be required for new staff members. In that case the school should pay for the PD.

    I have become quite the fan of webinars that I can take in my own time, and refer back to whenever I need to. Top dollar I have paid for these is $79, keeping in mind that I am a member (in this case, of NSTA). Many of these are something that I can watch more than once, and when I have finished it, I can often get a certificate of completion, maybe for free or for about $5. This keeps my cost down, because if I already have my PD hours covered, the CC doesn't have to be purchased, or, if I want a record, the CC is cheap enough not to break the bank.
     
  13. MarkLakewood336

    MarkLakewood336 Rookie

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    Thank you so much for your feedback! Our most successful conferences were held during the morning hours of a school day. Individual school districts have paid for their staff to attend by sending us a check or paid online. In other situations, the attendees paid us in advance and they were reimbursed by their school district.

    We use webinars as a backup in the event we cancel a conference or if a group prefers attending a webinar over an onsite conference. We tried using webinars as the primary method of presentation, but found it very difficult getting school staff to register. However, I do share your thoughts about webinars. This really is a great way to share info and yet keep the overhead expenses very low.
     
  14. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    That's a good idea. If they are having a day with no students anyway then a sub wouldn't be needed and they would get the mandatory PD.
     
  15. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    If you could get the school districts to "buy in" for a set fee, irregardless of the number of participants, the lack of a distinct count would be irrelevant. When webinars come available to me, but I am on the fence, I will sign up for the free ones even while deciding. The advantage is that I will get the link to the archived webinar, meaning that now I am watching on my schedule. Perhaps if the districts were paying for all new employees to attend the presentation, or the webinar, they could utilize the information late at night or during a school holiday. I know that I keep all of my webinars in a folder on my desktop, and I can and do access them at all hours of the day and night.

    Since I mentioned NSTA webinars, there is usually about a $30-$40 discount for NSTA members, making some of them free to members. Is there any chance that schools could buy "memberships" that would allow any current employee to access a webinar? Just a thought.
     
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  16. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    How much do your trainings cost? That might be a factor if they are considered not worth the $$. If teachers feel they are getting a good deal they might be more likely to sign up. Are you part of a company that is out to make money solely on these conferences??
     
  17. MarkLakewood336

    MarkLakewood336 Rookie

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    This is a great idea! Thank you.
     
  18. MarkLakewood336

    MarkLakewood336 Rookie

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    We have been experimenting with fees under $100.00. And yes, are goal is to make some profit from these conferences.
     

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