Where, oh where has the last year gone? I don't know, but I know it wasn't enough time for me to read 546 books! I still need to count up how many I actually did read, and maybe I will do that tonight before I go to bed. I KNOW there will be people asking me at the conference! And there are still lots of other details to still attend to tonight, including packing my clothes / shoes / electronics / schedule / etc.
My husband is in the next room helping me out with some little goodies that I'm giving to the Executive Board and the Office Staff as a thank you, and I am typing up my schedule for the conference. I've found over the last several years that it helps tremendously for me to have a written chart for each day of where I need to be when and what I'm supposed to be doing there. If you decide you'd like to run for VP and be the Conference Chair, you will need to plan out your time in great detail as well. It's one of the reasons I'm not worried about anything going awry over the course of the next few days; the whole conference is planned in much more detail than most people can imagine. We are so lucky to have the office staff that we do and the great volunteers that plan and execute in such great detail as well! Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this conference another wonderful one.
And I have to say that hard work has paid off: as of today we have 2,857 people registered for the conference! I remember last year, when schools started cutting professional development money, I thought the only people who would get to come to the conference were the featured speakers and the executive board - and some of them weren't sure they could even make it until just recently. So this is huge! The teachers of Illinois have spoken, and they are saying clearly that they know what kind of professional development they want and they know where they can get it. I am so proud to be from this state!
Check out the forecast for the Springfield area, too: it's going to be really nice, but we might get some rain on Thursday, so bring an umbrella!
If your travel plans allow, please plan on stopping by the Welcome Reception Wednesday night from 6:30 - 8:30 in the Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom. There will be snacks and a cash bar, and the President of the International Reading Association will be there to say hello to you all! We will also give away our awards to legislators, so you will get to spend some time with the folks who are fighting the good fight for the children of Illinois right along with you.
Don't forget - if you come up to me at the conference and tell me something you learned from reading this blog, you'll get a free door prize! But also remember that it has to be something that someone else has not yet told me, so come with a couple of tidbits. I hope I've provided you with enough information so far - and that you come grab me early on!