DES MOINES — More than 1,100 school board members from across Iowa are gathering in Des Moines today for the 74th annual Iowa Association of School Boards Convention.

Spokeswoman Tammy Votava says there were more than 380 new school board members elected statewide on November 5th.
“We’ve got really great programming planned for them at the convention,” Votava says. “We have new board member orientation workshops called ‘Thriving In Your First 90 Days.’ We have basic school finance workshops for them. We have a whole track for just new board members, so we’re ready for all of them to come.”

This year’s convention is focused on two primary issues. “One is mental health which is also one of our proposed priorities on our platform, so we have several sessions focused on mental health,” Votava says. “We have workshops on innovation and also Sir Ken Robinson, our leading keynote speaker, will be speaking a lot about innovation.”

Continuing with the focus on innovation, the second keynote speaker, Scott McLeod, will be presenting a talk called “Unleashing Innovation, How Should We Think About the Future.”  “We also have six school districts coming in for the Ignite Innovation Showcase,” Votava says. “It’s a new thing we’re going this year where attendees can go around to different stations and learn more about innovative programs from across the state.”

The convention is underway through Thursday at the Iowa Events Center.