2018 Convention News

Talk to Your Supervisor About Going to Chicago

Volume 46 Issue 3, p. 25

Getting the school district to pay expenses for attending conventions is very hard for a lot of us, but it may still be worth asking for release time. Prepare for this conversation by considering key talking points to use during your discussion. Remember that supervisors are concerned about costs, benefits to the district, and how to make sure things run smoothly while you are away. How would you address some of those concerns?

What do you plan to gain from attending the convention? Think about how you would answer questions such as the following:

  • What skills could you learn/improve by attending?
  • What are some specific cases that would benefit from your attendance?
  • What district priorities can you help address while you're there?
  • List some specific sessions that you would like to attend.

List a few ways that you can help manage the costs of attending. Perhaps some of these ideas could help:

  • Reduce the cost of your registration by registering early.
  • Find a roommate for the convention and cut your hotel costs in half.
  • Get all of your professional development in one trip.

Explain what you can bring back to your district from the convention. Think of becoming a resource to your colleagues on the latest in school psychology services:

  • Give a presentation to your colleagues covering what you learned.
  • Make copies of speaker handouts that you found helpful.
  • Pick up sample materials from the exhibit hall for your team to consider.

How do you plan to cover for the time that you will be away? You are an important part of the school team. Think about how to support the team while you are away:

  • What can you do in advance to make your time away easier on everyone?
  • Will you be able to respond to e-mails while you are away?
  • Can you designate someone on site to help handle emergencies?

Send a Letter to Your Supervisor

Put your proposition in writing. Consider sending a letter—either as an introduction or a follow-up to your conversation—to your supervisor outlining the advantages to the district of your convention attendance. Perhaps something like the following would fill the bill.

[Today's Date]

Dear [Your Supervisor's First Name],

In order to ensure that I am providing [Your School or District's Name] and our students with the most up-to-date, evidence-based psychological services, I would like to attend the National Association of School Psychologists’ 2018 Annual Convention, taking place February 13–16 in Chicago, Illinois.

As the largest annual gathering of school psychologists, the convention is an important professional development opportunity. It offers more than 1,200 sessions and workshops over 4 days that will provide me with skills and strategies to improve the quality of services that our students receive.

By attending the NASP 2018 Annual Convention I will be able to:

  • Attend sessions that will help me address issues that our district is facing.
  • Learn strategies and techniques that will give me a new approach for specific cases.
  • Collaborate with professionals from around the nation to learn what is working in their schools.
  • See innovative products and services offered by top education companies in the exhibit hall.

This convention is an enormous value for the money. The registration fee is only $249 for NASP members who register by November 8. Additional costs would include airfare, hotel, transportation, and meals, which I have estimated at [Insert Estimate].

It is critical that I take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that I am providing the most effective services to improve student success. If granted the opportunity, I will return to our district with important new information that will benefit individual students and our district as a whole. I will also be able to provide professional development to mental health professionals from around the district on current best practices in school psychology.

If you have any questions about the conference or my proposal, please let me know. You can also find additional details on the convention at


[Your Name]

© 2017, National Association of School Psychologists
November 2017, Volume 46, Number 3