Conference Frequently Asked Questions
The ABPSUG Committee is constantly working to improve the PSUG conference. We review the conference survey results and want to take the time to respond to some of the KEY comments or suggestions that we heard from attendees.
Attendee Comment: Since you are doing 2 conferences next time, maybe we could have one in the North and one in the South.
Reply: The registration for the 2018 ABPSUG Conference filled up very quickly so the organizing committee decided that we would run the conference again in 2019. To accommodate the large numbers of people wanting in, we are also trying a new format where we are offering the same conference twice in one week. Because we are all volunteers and each have full time jobs within our own districts, we are unable to meet the time requirements that it would take to do the same conference in two locations. Having it in one location, in the same week means that the committee is giving up personal time to come early (on the weekend) to get ready for the conference and staying for the whole week (when usually we would arrive Monday and leave Friday). By doing this, we are not taking any extra time away from our own districts.
Attendee Comment: Venue is awesome, but is it too fancy – do we need to go somewhere so expensive? Is it possible to make the location more central Alberta?
Reply: The committee works hard to research and look into many options for a conference location and venue. Through a long working relationship with the Fairmont Hotel & Resort properties, we have found that they are able to offer us the best prices for both hotel accommodation and meals, not to mention the exceptional support in organizing our conference meeting needs. We are also very fortunate the Fairmont offers us complimentary conference spaces where other hotels charge thousands of dollars for meeting rooms, which would result in higher conference fees for attendees. Although the beauty and “grand” appearance of the hotel can seem extravagant, it is actually just an outstanding bonus to the Fairmont Properties being the most feasible option for our conference budget needs.
The committee also values providing ‘networking/social opportunities’ during the conference, and love the “solitude” that this location provides for our attendees.
Attendee Comment: Why can’t we get our schedule and have confirmation of what sessions we got into prior to arriving at the conference and why can’t we make changes to our session choices?
Reply: We understand that this might be a problem for some attendees. Please be aware that we begin scheduling sessions as soon as the conference registration is filled (usually 3-4 months prior to the conference). The schedule is built based on the conference room size, instructors and requests for the course. If we publish schedules to participants prior to conference, we feel that we will be inundated with requests from attendees to change session choices. Although we completely empathize that attendees have good reasons as to why they would like to change their session choices, the Committee is a ‘volunteer’ group who work full-time in their own respective school division and the time required to make these changes would be unmanageable and unfair to our districts.
We feel it is unfair to those who have signed up for a session to not have a seat because someone who was not scheduled for that particular session has decided to drop-in.
The committee truly wants each attendee to have the best learning experience possible, and we work hard to ensure that each participant has the opportunity to attend five of their top six course choices. We feel that scheduling based on what has been requested is the best way to ensure this is possible. We ask that you please remember to carefully look over the course catalog and the descriptors associated, and contact us with questions regarding sessions prior to signing up for them to make sure that you will get the best benefit from a particular session.
Attendee Comment: Some of the sessions were geared to specific grade level or experience levels. I wished I had known that before I signed up.
Reply: On our website, beside each course description was the details for grade levels,
skill levels and whether it was hands on or not.
Attendee Comment: This conference is mainly for Secretaries not Administrators or Teachers. The sessions I went to were geared to School Secretaries. I did not find it useful for my job as a School/ District Administrator.
Reply: That is correct. This conference is Professional Development designed specifically for Administrative Assistants actively using PowerSchool. This conference is advertised for and geared toward the specific PowerSchool needs of Admin Assistants/Secretaries not teachers, principals, district PS administrators, etc. The sessions and conference are very much focused toward these roles within schools.
Attendee Comment: It would have been nice to have a little time to spend outside - more FREE time!
Reply: It is always hard to balance the learning and the fun. We added a bit more free time this year based on last year’s survey results. Our goal is to give our attendees great learning opportunities and valuable training while also making the conference fun and relaxing. We understand you want more FREE time, but we also want to respect your divisions who are approving this PD opportunity on the basis that this conference will be providing valuable PowerSchool sessions and learning opportunities.
The hotel graciously extended the conference rate for both pre and post-dates, and it is our hope that attendees would be able to take advantage of this in order to be able to enjoy the Rockies and have more time to explore the venue and Lake Louise area on your own.
Attendee Comment: Not sure how often I can attend this conference due to school budgets. Maybe every year and a half or two years would be better to put this conference on.
Reply: We totally realize that attendees need the support and approval from their schools/divisions in order to attend, and how often this can take place does vary depending on factors such as budgets. Our committee has discussed the frequency of these conferences, the size of our waiting list and the amount of work involved in organizing and putting on the conference. We feel that we need some significant time between conferences and at this time we are committed to organize a AB PSUG conference every two years. We had such incredible interest in our 2018 conference, we decided to run the conference again this year......twice!!!