Making Your Case
Securing time away from school and financial support to attend a conference requires thorough preparation and articulated benefits to your institution, department, colleagues and professional performance. Use these steps and resources to help make your case to attend the Illinois Music Education Conference 2017!
1. Familiarize yourself with the points in “5 Reasons to Attend IMEC” (below). Use them as jumping-off points; adapt them to address your own situation.
2. Get the costs together, including travel, hotel, meals and registration. Be sure to outline how much you can save if you register early. (See the sample travel budget that follows.)
3. Review last year’s conference program and list specific ideas or strategies that you brought back and implemented in your classroom, rehearsal or position.
4. Study any preliminary information about the program that is available; identify sessions, events and programs that could help you grow as a music educator. Highlight how these support your professional development in specific areas such as the new Illinois Arts Learning Standards, assessment or the Danielson model.
5. Share available program materials with your supervisor and find out what topics, sessions and programs they think would be of greatest benefit to your workplace.
6. Put together a draft plan for how instruction will continue and how essential tasks will get done while you’re away, including how technology will keep you accessible and in touch as needed.
7. Develop a schedule for after you get back:
- Describe how you’ll share the list of discussion and action items you develop during the conference, how you’ll share notes from sessions, discussion groups, vendors and useful informal conversations.
- Share a timeline for providing a written report for your supervisor.
- Assure your administrators that you will focus on implementing one new idea at a time that pays back the investment of time and money while improving your music department’s programs and services.
- Plan a formal professional development session so that you can share a few selected items with your music department colleagues.
8. Put your request in writing - include a written description (see sample that follows) and a proposed budget (registration, travel, lodging and meals).
9. Schedule a time to sit down with your administrator or supervisor to review and discuss the information in person. Plan what “key points” you will address and emphasize at this meeting, and leave behind your full written description for your supervisor to review after your meeting.
10. Follow up! If a decision was not made in your face-to-face meeting, then contact your administrator a few days later regarding a timeline for the decision. If you were given permission to attend, a word of thanks for your supervisor’s time, consideration, and support would be appropriate.
Adapted from the American Library Association | www.ala.org
Five Reasons to Attend IMEC
- At the conference, teachers will learn strategies to better hone their craft, serve students and be inspired to try new ideas that will keep their classes fresh, energetic and current. In-person professional development sessions, discussions with colleagues, networking events and keynote speakers all provide opportunities for growth at the Illinois Music Education Conference (IMEC).
- Sessions focused on the new Illinois Arts Learning Standards will prepare your music educators to work within these standards and understand how to successfully implement them into their classroom and rehearsals. These sessions will also prepare your music educators how to utilize these standards to focus curriculum and create meaningful assessments.
- This conference is the most cost-effective way for school districts to provide content-specific professional development for music educators. Sending educators to this affordable conference will provide them the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sessions and demonstrations given by top music educators from Illinois and from around the country.
- Teachers, like students, need to continually learn, adapt and grow. The best environment for this is a content-specific one, among others who are working in the shared field. The information presented and collaborative discussions with colleagues can push teachers to pursue new ideas and sharpen existing strategies.
- Participating in and contributing to learning communities is an important part of not only the Danielson Framework, but also a cornerstone of the Learning Forward Professional Development Standards. The school music program has a stronger reputation when music teachers are active in the statewide professional organization. This shows the community that your school district is committed to providing quality professional development opportunities and encouraging innovative teaching in the music program.
This sample memo can be a good start to put your request and rationale into writing for your administrator(s). Use the .pdf or the Google Doc linked below to get started!
This worksheet outlines typical expenses associated with attending the Illinois Music Education Conference. Take into consideration your own school's/district's practices and be as prepared as you can be when making your case to attend IMEC 2017.