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State School Boards Association's annual convention heads to Buffalo


Mon, Oct 23rd 2023 12:45 pm

Submitted by the New York State School Boards Association

Some 1,500 school board members and other school district leaders from throughout New York will gather in Buffalo this week at the New York State School Boards Association’s Annual Convention and Education Expo to immerse themselves in such timely issues as school safety, student mental health, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, teacher shortages and more.

NYSSBA’s three-day conference will take place Oct. 26-28 at the Buffalo Convention Center. The annual gathering is the largest educational event in the state tailored specifically to the roles and responsibilities of school board members and other district leaders.

"Our annual convention and expo event is a crucial resource for school leaders," NYSSBA Executive Director Robert Schneider said. "This event gives them an opportunity to receive, discuss and exchange practical information about the most pressing and challenging issues in public education. Our members are able to put what they learn into action when they return to their home school districts."

The event will feature more than 90 educational sessions and workshops by expert presenters and exhibitors, a full listing of which can be found here. Workshops will be delivered by an array of presenters, including school board members and superintendents, attorneys who specialize in school law, state policymakers, educators and scholars.

Two speakers of national and international stature will bookend the conference. The Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will give the opening keynote address. She will share her experiences growing up Black and female in apartheid South Africa, and talk about the importance of recognizing our shared humanity. Closing keynote speaker Liz Murray knows the power of mentorship for student achievement after a childhood challenged by homelessness and poverty. She is the author of “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homelessness to Harvard,” and a co-founder of The Arthur Project, a mentorship program for middle school students.

The convention kicks off Thursday, Oct. 26, with the 27th annual pre-convention school law seminar. The session, which runs from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., will address pressing legal issues, including how to manage student behavior and discipline, particularly by reducing the use of out-of-school suspensions. Other topics will include employee religious accommodation rights, an update on special education exposure and liability, school board member use of social media, collective bargaining in an uncertain economy, and key educational issues acted upon this past year by the state Education Department.

The New York State School Boards Association represents more than 670 school boards and more than 5,200 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state's public schools.

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