In our current economic climate, getting approval and funding to attend conferences and conventions may be more challenging than it has been in the past. You need to show how convention participation will relate directly to the objectives of your institution and your professional development to obtain funding.
All too often, people who want to attend a convention simply submit a request and cross their fingers. Below are tips on articulating the need for your continued professional development from both the institutional and personal perspective
Rather than simply asking for approval, consider submitting a more formal proposal. Through this proposal you can demonstrate how your participation directly relates to the strategies and objectives of your school. This will allow you to express the need for your continued professional development both for your students, your school, and you. It’s not over after you have submitted a sound proposal to attend and received approval. You must prepare yourself to get the most out of the NAGC Annual Convention experience and then follow through after you attend.
When you create your proposal for attendance, in addition to providing a summary of the funding you will need, detail your business case for attending. Here is an example of what could be included for an elementary general ed teacher’s proposal:
At present, our school’s goal is to improve the overall academic achievement of each student within the new Common Core State Standards we are implementing. My personal contribution to this is to deliver a quality education experience that helps keep our students engaged in learning, motivated to attend school, and extends to other curricular success through cross-curricular lesson delivery. Within the 400+ sessions offered at the 2014 NAGC Convention, there are over 20 sessions specifically targeted to improving my delivery of education to K-5 students. Here are a few I plan to attend:
By attending the convention, I also have the opportunity to stretch our budget by purchasing needed resources at discounts not available elsewhere.
While professional development offered by our district is valuable, it is not specific to my discipline. Attending the NAGC Convention is the only opportunity I have to receive this level of professional development as an elementary educator wishing to better serve high-ability learners. Additionally, as there are so few teachers in our school/district trained to meet the needs of these students, attending a convention with 3,000 other educators of gifted students will offer me the unique opportunity to collaborate with and learn from other educators in my discipline. Because of these and many other reasons, I request your support to attend the NAGC Convention, November 13-16, 2014 in Baltimore.
Once you have approval to attend, fully prepare so you can demonstrate that you received the benefits you ensured your administrator would be available.
Try to stick to your schedule as much as possible and take notes during sessions. You will learn so much in these four days that it will be important later to have a reference, especially for presenting what you learned when you return home. Leave some time in your schedule for exploring the exhibit halls and for networking with colleagues. Over 3,000 gifted educators will be there—don’t miss out on this opportunity for learning from experts around our state, nation, and world!
If you are not now an NAGC member, you have the option to join when you register and save considerably on the Convention registration fee. Think about how the four days of Convention learning will be enhanced with a 12-month NAGC membership that will provide you with a steady stream of the most current information you can use, that includes practical publications that you will turn to again and again. Select the "New Member + Convention Bundle" when registering if you are not currently an NAGC member, or have let your membership lapse.