Alexis Bushman Marketing Communications Manager Tweet iCon 2016: Recapping the Quest for Success Watch the Video Another successful Skyward International Conference, or iCon, is in the books. Couldn't make it? Here's what you missed: Location The beachfront TradeWinds Island Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida. This was our second year at the TradeWinds, and we don't anticipate a change in venue anytime soon. The resort strikes just the right balance of professional (large meeting rooms, reliable technology, and responsive staff) and relaxing (balconies overlooking the beach, a diverse range of dining options, and plenty of space to kick back). Skyward executives even hosted their own outdoor session right on the edge of the beach! Theme Quest for Success This year’s conference-goers were #BusyQuesting. Attendees competed to collect the most riches, earning their gems by attending sessions, visiting the 11 exhibitors, and snapping photos with Indiana Johns or the Keeper of Knowledge. A Big Announcement Every year at iCon, we try to unveil something new and exciting. This year, we officially launched our Family Access Toolkit, a collection of resources designed to help districts get the most from Family Access. Be sure to check it out! Want to be the first to hear next year’s big announcement? Sign up for iCon 2017! Registration opens in September. ↪ Explore the Family Access Toolkit Challenge Accepted When our president, Scott Glinski stepped up to the microphone for opening remarks, he set the tone for the goals of the conference by focusing on three of the biggest challenges facing school districts today (and the solutions Skyward offers to help attendees tackle each of them): 1) Proactive Parent Engagement (Family Access) 2) Professional Development (PDC) 3) Employee Accountability (TrueTime) Our distinguished panel of district leaders shared some of their success stories and talked about how each of these challenges has affected their respective organizations. These three topics remained a common thread throughout the conference and we were happy to hear from so many people who emerged with new ideas and strategies to take on the future. A Chat with the Experts Whether seeking advice in our one-on-one help room, speaking with Skyward leadership at breakfast, or attending an informative session, our attendees had plenty of opportunities to get advice from the top experts in the field. Breakout Sessions This year’s event featured 69 breakout sessions. With so many to choose from, iCon attendees always find discussions on topics that interest them and are helpful for their positions and their districts’ circumstances. Some of the sessions included: A 3-Part Administrator Bootcamp Parent-Teacher Conferences Made Easier It Takes a Village: Proactive Parent Engagement (w/ Indiana Johns himself) Ensuring Your District’s Data Security Moving From Paper to Electronic Forms Substitute Tracking from Start to Finish New Features (Student and Business) Tips, Tricks, and Customizations An Open Campus with Arena Scheduling and Positive Attendance My School Data at My Fingertips Professional Development Center (PDC) Customization Networking Meals, socials, and sessions provided attendees with many opportunities to get to know their more than 250 peers in attendance. Our favorite part of iCon is watching edtech leaders exchange ideas during the conference and develop meaningful relationships after the fact. Many attendees, no matter how regionally diverse, are facing similar challenges and can have a lot to offer in terms of advice. Bonus – The Food iCon never fails when it comes to satisfying your appetite. This year’s attendees enjoyed delicious cuisines ranging from coconut lobster tails and deviled eggs with caviar, to cheesecake and Florida Key lime pie. And when the sessions were over, they headed to nearby restaurants for fresh seafood straight from the gulf. iCon is the premier event for Skyward users. It strikes the perfect balance between fun and educational and has something to offer everyone. Registration for next year’s conference will open in early September. Mark your calendar for March 8-10, 2017 – we hope you can join us!