You Should Never Miss an IPA Fall Conference

By Charley Cass posted 09-03-2018 22:42

I remember my first IPA fall conference.  It was my first year as a principal and by October you start getting that feeling that you are now an island to yourself.  In small districts like ours, you are usually the only administrator in the building and you don't get many chances to bounce ideas off of people like you.  I was having a good year but as a rookie, you have a lot of uncertainty that you need professional networking to fix.  I remember walking into the Peoria Civic Center that first morning to the general session.  I looked around and not only spotted familiar faces but soon realized that these were my people.  A building filled with people that do what you do for a living.  They understand the ups and downs of the field and they have shared experiences with you.  Throughout my masters program, Dr. Colwell continuously preached that we should join the IPA and upon my arrival at my first fall conference I finally understood why.

As I moved from session to session and the general sessions, I could see the special-ness of the IPA playing out before me.  I was beyond impressed with the organization and the presentation of the event as well as how the IPA honors it's members.  I watched the Principal of the Year honorees accept their awards and thinking how cool it would be if that was me.  Eventually, I got my chance to walk across the stage.  I have had the opportunity to present a small group session and do an ignite session last year.  I was very motivated to get involved after that first fall conference.  I have served on state committees, the conference planning committee and I recently took on the honor of being region director for the Egyptian Region.  My experiences over the years with the IPA have been very rewarding and I credit the organization for so much of my development as a school administrator.

This conference is one you can't miss from year to year.  Yes you get to see old friends and talk shop, but the learning opportunities are top notch.  Look through the small group sessions and tell me you can't find something that is beneficial to your building.  Personally, there are many sessions I could go to that could potentially impact my building.  We are re-branding this year.  There is a session for that.  We are constantly talking about the value of homework.  There is a session for that too.  Really, there is no excuse not to make the trip to Springfield to take advantage of these and many other professional development possibilities.

If you have been on the fence for some reason and have yet to register, what are you waiting on?  Go online and register so you can see what adventures await.