Imagine yourself on a trip. You’re sitting in an airline, talking to the person next to you. Chances are, if the conversation turned to the price of the ticket, that one of you paid more for it than the other. Will that person be you? Do you know how to save like a street-smart miser? Sometimes, just being a savvy traveler can save you money. But you have to know how to do it. That’s what this is about. You can be one of the few who “know the ropes.” The headline above is true; you can save money on your workshop, but you have to know how.
#1. Early bird discount. Every one of the programs has a discount of 10% (for early registration). Check the specific workshop to see if the early bird discount is still in effect.
#2. Travel Cheap. If you’re a very savvy traveler, these “hot tips” may be second nature, but nonetheless, well worth a reminder: 1) Try flying to a nearby city, since it often saves you on ticket prices. For example, tickets to Providence may be cheaper than Boston and Milwaukee tickets may be less than Chicago. You will have to rent a car, but that still may be cheaper. Always check around. 2) Do a Saturday night stay over if it can save you money. 3) Vary your travel times to get a better price. 4) Use frequent flyer miles, but set it up far in advance since most airlines charge a ridiculous “last minute fee” to use your own miles. 5) Use www.cheaptickets.com. 6) Fly discount airlines like Southwest, Jet Blue or Delta’s Song Airline if they go to your city.
#3. Use Parent Support (or PTA) Groups. I know a first grade teacher that holds several parent meetings a year. She routinely gives out truckloads of cool information to parents, like tips on nutrition and learning. She calls the parents her “learning angels.” Why? Because when she wants to go to a workshop, she presents her case to them, with all the costs laid out. Let’s say it’s a $1500 package. She talks about what the children in her class will get and how improved the teaching will be. Parent groups routinely pay her way to Jensen Learning workshops with little or nothing out of her pocket. It’s no FREE lunch--she works hard and invests in the parents and kids first, then asks for favors later.
#4. Exploding the Myth of Funding. Many educators mistakenly believe the “No Child Left Behind Act” was set up in a way that does not fund any workshop or conference attendance. After a thorough legal review of the Federal legislation, the verdict is in. You can use the money to attend a conference or workshop if(and this is the “biggie”) the program you want to attend is part of the schools stated goals for improving student achievement.
Second, the stimulus money has a 3-year bulge to it. That means you will get another year or two of extra Federal money that your district or school can access for things like “Improving Teacher Quality” or “Special Ed” or “Science and Math.” Be proactive and get into the loop.
The lesson here is simple. If you want funding, better get in early on the planning. Make specific staff development programs (like the ones you want!) part of the school improvement plan. Get it in writing and show how you can play a part in the process. There also has to be substantial follow-up, so be prepared to do more than give a 10 minute talk to your colleagues. Hosting a study group might be better.
#5. Start Early and Keep Squeaking. Start the process early; the two most likely times to get money for attending workshops are early in the year and late in the year. What that tells you is...work both ends! Get all the key information on the workshop you want and sit down in front of a computer. Write out a budget for attending which includes food, transportation, tuition and any extra costs. Then, write out what you want to learn, and how it will help you become a better teacher.
Add to this page the most important thing--how will students benefit? With a simple one or two page “Executive Summary” in hand, you can be highly professional about what you want and what you can offer in return.
#6. Go with a group or learning team. Why bring a friend? There are at least four good reasons: 1) it saves you a whopping 10% off your tuition, when you bring 5 or more, 2) once at the workshop, you can split up and each learn new things separately at different tables, then combine your new learning later on 3) it’s way more fun during the evenings to have friends to hang out with 4) once back at your school, it’s good to have a support team who speaks the “same language” and can help you implement new ideas.
#7. Begin with the End in Mind. You are often told to “hang in there,” to stay patient to the end of the year. Schools have budgets like all of us. Sometimes their budget has extra funds left over at the end. If that happens, there may be an opportunity for you. Find out from your principal when the final decisions are made regarding the school year budget.
Any teacher that was waiting until the end of the year for “spare change” might be out of luck. Smart teachers know that there may be several “windows” of opportunity. Ask questions and stay alert.
#8. Get “Almost” Free Grants! The phrase “almost” was put in for a reason--it’s truth in advertising. Even grant money is not “free.” It takes time, attention, effort and work. It can be stressful and there’s a waiting game. But you can get checks for $1,000-$100,000 for a workshop--IF you know how to do it! How much money is available? There’s enough for what you want.
The totals are billions in State and Federal grants. There are grants for improving teacher quality state grants. A grant for 10 staff to any Jensen workshop would qualify for a teacher improvement project.
WHERE DO I FIND OUT ABOUT MONIES AVAILABLE?
There are many, many sites. Start with:
Also, go to: http://e-grants.ed.gov/egHome.asp
WHICH PROGRAMS APPLY TO SPECIFIC JENSEN PROGRAMS?
Each of those listed below provide professional development funding for teacher improvement.
JENSEN LEARNING (“Tools for Maximum Engagement" 2 Days)
JENSEN LEARNING (“Teaching with the Brain in Mind” 6 Days)
JENSEN LEARNING (“Teaching with Poverty in Mind” 4 Days)
School Funding Services
The School Funding Services (SFS) web site allows you to search a database of education grants—primarily federal programs—to find funding sources that are matched to your needs. Users can conduct a custom grants search based on multiple categories, including location, application deadline, or type of program such as professional development, reading, or technology. The site also provides a wealth of background information on NCLB programs.
#9. Arrive Cheap. In most cases, it is better NOT to rent a car. Use the free hotel shuttle for your airport transportation. Travel as a group in a taxi to save costs. In many cases, it’s better NOT to rent a car. Jensen Learning workshops are always held in places where you can get by without a car.
What about hotel costs? Book at the hotel that Jensen Learning recommends so you can be “on site” for the whole time. It’s easier on your body and you’ll learn more. By the way, Jensen Learning can only reserve a block of rooms up to 30 days prior to an event. Then, the hotel will release the block and charge more. So, book your sleeping rooms early.
#10. Eat Cheap. Call ahead and find out what’s in the hotel sleeping room. Some hotels have free coffee and tea, a microwave or even a sink and fridge for a week. You may be able to organize your meals so you only have one main meal for the day (make it lunch to keep costs down). When you go out at night, do yourself and a friend a favor and split a dish. Sometimes a hotel will have discounts or coupons for a particular restaurant.
To really save money, look for “early bird” discounts at www.restaurants.com and keep your drink tab to the minimum. Back at your hotel, if you can keep snacks, it keeps down your meal costs. Set a personal budget ahead of time. It’s OK to splurge on one great meal for the workshop, but not every night; it’ll break your budget.
Well, my brain’s used up for the moment. If just one or two of these ideas can save you $50, $100 bucks or more, it would be worth it, wouldn’t it? Hope to see you this year in one of our fabulous workshops. It gets done every day by the go-getters, so get going!