Top 10 Reasons to Attend 2020 WSSDA Annual Conference

2021 Annual Conference information is coming soon! In the meantime, look back on the 2020 Top Ten.

There are many reasons school board directors should come to conference, but here’s 10 of our favorites. Take a look!

#1 No plane, train, or automobile required!

For the first time ever, the WSSDA Annual Conference is an all-virtual event! This means the conference is now easier to access than ever. With no travel or lodging concerns, just log in, get ready to learn and enjoy.

#2 The keynote speakers will knock your socks off!

Do you want to talk about making an impact? Seattle-based author and public speaker Ijeoma Oluo does. Oluo is an activist for racial equality, whose book So you want to talk about race is creating conversations all across the country. Her insights on equity and social justice will have you reflect on how to better serve marginalized students in your district.

You’ll also experience TEDx and CPAE hall of fame speaker Mike Rayburn. With the assist of his world-class guitar to amp up his presentation, his optimistic ‘What If?’ mindset will challenge you to think outside the box and reimagine how high you set your standards.

2020 Washington State Teacher of the Year Amy Campbell possesses an equity and inclusion-focused mentality, helping students excel beyond their expectations. The Camas Special Education Teacher will inspire you to relaunch goals that felt unreachable and make them achievable.  

#3 Your student representatives will feel like VIPs!

WSSDA values the views of our student representatives and encourages all school boards to include students on their board. At Annual Conference, students can share their perspective with school board members in a setting where student input is anticipated and appreciated. No one can better explain the student experience at conference than someone who has participated. Alexis Nevy, a past student representative on the Olympia school board, described what it was like to be treated like a “VIP” at the 2019 Annual Conference.

#4 Our pre-conference workshops are packed with valuable tools!

There are three outstanding pre-conference sessions to kick off your learning. Our Law Conference, Board Boot Camp, and Leading for Equity sessions all provide valuable tools to add to your leadership toolbox.

At Law Conference, you will learn about the developments, analysis, and insights informing the legal landscape of public education today. Law Conference speakers will help you identify pitfalls and minimize the risk of investigations and costly litigation in your district.

If you are a newer board member, Board Boot Camp is the place for you. At Board Boot Camp, you and other new board members from around the state will hear from experienced school directors as they cover board service basics and answer questions.

Last, but certainly not least, in Leading for Equity, you’ll learn why having an equity policy is essential from board members who have adopted one and understand the processes they used to create it. You will leave with samples of equity policies, as well as the tools, knowledge, and desire to bring them to your own districts.

#5 You’ll gain a deeper understanding of educational equity!

With at least six breakout sessions and two keynote speakers touching on equity-related topics, you will leave Annual Conference with an abundance of knowledge related to educational equity. The breakout sessions will advance your understanding of racial equity by exploring how to close gaps and open opportunities for marginalized students in your district. Hear how you can help make Wi-Fi a public utility and have distance learning accessible for all your students. Even see what steps your board can take to build a race and equity policy blueprint that best fits your community.

#6 You’ll reconnect with colleagues you know and network with those you don’t!

Because the pandemic has prevented us from seeing our colleagues face-to-face and hindered our ability to meet new people, we have made sure that Annual Conference attendees will have plenty of opportunities to network. Our virtual platform will help you connect with board members, superintendents, and other colleagues through a feature called the Meeting Hub. You’ll be able to have direct, one-on-one conversations via video, schedule meetings with one another, and instant message those you’ve connected within the conference platform. We’ve also designing the conference schedule to create time for networking. You’ll be able to join discussion groups of various topics as well as gather for discussions with others in similar-sized districts, experience levels, and other self-identifying features.

#7 The breakout sessions are unforgettable!

In Moving the Needle for Black, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native and Low-income Students, you can learn how to close gaps and open opportunities for marginalized students. See examples from schools that are getting it done by using programs, partnerships, and systems.

In The imperative for Affordable, High-speed Internet Access for Everyone, learn how to advocate for making Wi-Fi a public utility, so distance learning is accessible for every student in Washington state.

You can look forward to Hot Topics with Tim Garchow & Chris Reykdal, where Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and WSSDA Executive Director Tim Garchow will answer your burning questions about K-12 education in Washington.

You can also hear how 2020 challenged WSSDA and its partners to think outside the box, leading to a fresh perspective and creative ideas for the next legislative session in 2021 Legislative Session: A New Reality in Defense Mode.

#8 The student talent will blow you away!

The virtual setting isn’t stopping our students from showcasing their talents.

You will hear poetry from Mead High School Senior and 2020 Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Jordan Mattox. The raw passion and emotion she pours in her storytelling will have you asking for an encore.

Ferris High School Senior, Kendra Lund, will leave you in awe as she performs the National Anthem. Kendra is an accomplished vocalist, possessing an ear-catching soprano-range voice and is even a WMEA All-State Choir recipient.

You can also relive the 2020 OSPI Superintendent’s High School Art Show as some of Washington state’s most creative students showcase their works. Many students will describe the back story of their artwork, showing you how they were inspired.

#9 WSSDA’s virtual OnBoard is included in admission!

Three OnBoard learning experiences will be offered as part of Annual Conference. In case you have a scheduling conflict with another breakout session, we’re even offering two of them twice so you don’t miss out.

Deciphering District Budgets introduces the structure and basic terminology used in the district budget. You will become familiar with the five funds used in district accounting and learn about the system used to code district revenue and expenditures.

Tacking Financial Soundness emphasizes the significance of key budget drivers and introduces the Financial Health Indicators developed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). You will examine the concepts underlying each Indicator, identify how district profile scores are determined, and navigate the OSPI website to access your own district’s profile.

Vision-Aligned Budgeting focuses on the significant connection between resource allocation and progress toward the district’s vision. You will explore three board commitments that research shows to be essential in developing budget guidelines aligned with the board’s vision for the district. You will also review legally required budget status reports and customized district budget supplements that specifically support the board’s responsibility for monthly monitoring of the district budget.

Go to for more information about the OnBoard experience.

#10 Your professional development won’t stop there!

Your learning doesn’t stop after Annual Conference has ended!

After the conference, you’ll be able to access all recorded sessions through July of 2021! Watch the breakout sessions on-demand, and use them as year-round professional development for you and your board-superintendent team. Almost 40 recordings will be available!

Access the 2020 Conference Content

2020 Annual Conference attendees can access all recorded breakout sessions through July of 2021! Simply login to the conference platform to view.

To request your login credentials email KF Events at

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