by Jonathan Hartley
The stars will be shining bright in San Antonio with top tier keynoters and a bevy of professional development offerings in more than 500 sessions. It’s a lineup of learning and networking opportunities that combine to create a uniquely immersive experience. The only thing left to do is get there, and with the right funding strategy and thrifty travel techniques, it can be done with a minimal impact on your wallet.
IRA’s 58th Annual Convention is a time for you to hone your craft and learn from some of the top figures in the field of education. You’ll gain insights that will not only improve your classroom, but can be shared with your peers to improve whole school performance. Communicating that value to administrators can help you secure funding for the trip to San Antonio, and we’ve made that mission simpler by providing a customizable letter for you to use.
Customized Funding Request
The “letter to administrator” is available in a convenient, customizable Word document on the Annual Convention website at www.iraconvention.org under Register/Additional Registration Information or at www.reading.org/reginfo. It provides information on clock hours, a breakdown of costs, and an explanation of the value of this investment for the whole staff. To optimize your funding request, IRA Senior Leadership Development Associate Rayann Mitchell recommends that you “identify session topics that align with school/district priorities and have a plan for how you will implement or share them with colleagues.” Demonstrating the lasting value to your administrators is the vital first step towards funding an unparalleled professional learning opportunity.
Cutting Onsite Costs
The co-headquarter hotels, Grand Hyatt San Antonio and Marriott Rivercenter, are within walking distance of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. In addition to these conveniently located lodging options, you can choose from official convention hotels, most of which will feature complimentary shuttle buses to the convention center, significantly reducing your transportation expenses.
And why go it alone? Convince a coworker or colleague to take advantage of this tremendous learning opportunity by attending with you and split the cost of a double room. It’s a win-win!
Reduced Air Fares
Educators will be coming to Convention from across the country and around the world. In order to make air travel simpler, we’ve partnered with American Airlines and United Airlines to offer discounted airfare.
You’ll find a promotion code and detailed information on how to take advantage of this offer on the Housing and Travel page of the Annual Convention website at www.iraconvention.org or at www.reading.org/housingtravel. If you’re adventurous and would prefer the do-it yourself route, be sure to shop around with a service like Fare Compare (www.farecompare.com) which can help you pinpoint the best day to fly and identify the airline offering the best deal. A well-informed educator makes for a lethal bargain hunter!
Once you touch down in San Antonio, there will be more discounts waiting for the smart shopper. At registration, every attendee gets the IRA Coupon Booklet. This compact publication (that conveniently fits in your badge holder) is packed with significant savings for onsite purchases and promotions on the exhibit hall floor. You can take your smart shopping beyond the walls of the convention center when the flavors and nightlife of San Antonio beckon.
The San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau has arranged for “Show Us Your Badge” discounts at participating restaurants. By flashing your official IRA convention ID badge, you’ll be entitled to offers and deals exclusive to IRA Annual Convention attendees. It’s like having a key to the city. Resolving to attend Convention is a choice that will have impact well beyond your weekend in San Antonio. By making the right travel, lodging, and shopping choices, you can make sure that it’s an opportunity that fits well within your budget. We can’t wait to see you in San Antonio.
Jonathan Hartley is the social media strategist at the International Reading Association.
This article appeared in the February/March 2013 issue
of Reading Today.
The IRA 58th Annual Convention runs from April 19 to 22, 2013, in San Antonio, Texas. Visit www.iraconvention.org and the iPlanner Program Grid and Event Search for details.