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13 Must-Attend Education Conferences for NJ Teachers & Leaders | Fall 2021 Edition

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"Professional learning must go on" should be the collective slogan of New Jersey educators.

Their passion for sharpening their skills and knowledge to better serve students has not waned despite the pandemic, and education organizations across the state of New Jersey have responded with opportunities for supporting that drive.  As in previous years, the Rutgers Alternate Route Program has made it easy for New Jersey teachers and leaders to identify PD opportunities for the fall season. The below list of offerings are hosted by state-based professional associations, local universities and grassroots education groups. The majority of workshops, conferences and trainings are free and low-cost; AND MANY ARE VIRTUAL! A select few may require financial investment from your district. Find something that suits your budget, schedule and professional interests below. 

These primarily free and low-cost conferences are perfect for NJ teachers and educators looking to advance their PD this Fall. 


New Jersey Conferences 


Fourth Annual New Jersey Convening on Diversifying the Teacher Workforce Virtual Conference 
Date: October 5 & 12, 2021 (Tuesdays 3pm-5pm) 
Pricing:  Free 

The  New Jersey Department of Education and New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education are collaborating on the 4th Annual New Jersey Diversifying the Teacher Workforce Virtual Convening.  Join principals, district leaders, policymakers and the higher education community to examine practices for increasing the number of Black and Latinx candidates in New Jersey's teacher pipeline. 


Imagine Create Lead 
Date: October 26 – 28, 2021 
Pricing: $450 per person   

NJSBA, NJASA and NJASBO are hosting their annual Workshop conference this coming October.  While there will be no slot machines or blackjack tables, you can still bet on an amazing professional learning and networking experience. This year’s conference is again virtual and promises to support the creation and expansion of achievement opportunities for all students. The conference will offer training, networking and events for district leaders, school technology professionals, school facilities managers and staff, and curriculum professionals.   


SHAPE NJ Virtual Adapted Conference 2021
Date: October 17 & 18, 2021 
Pricing: $49   

NJAHPERD has partnered with Flaghouse to sponsor a virtual learning experience addressing the needs of Health & Physical Educators. Learn how to foster student growth by adapting your planned lessons for health and P.E into virtual and blending learning experiences. Dress in comfortable clothing and be prepared to participate in fun, fitness exercises all in the comfort of your own home. 


New Jersey Science Convention 
Location: Princeton Marriott Forrestal 
Date: October 19 & 20, 2021 
Pricing: $195-$315 

New Jersey Science Teachers Association and New Jersey Science Education Leadership Association have planned a safe and in person 44th Annual Convention taking place this October. This year’s theme is ‘​2021 - Science Unlocks the Future’. This two-day learning adventure offers a wide variety of sessions of interest for educators in all levels and disciplines of science. A modest number of vendors of science books, supplies, and equipment will also be in attendance.   


NJPSA Celebrating Our Resilience
Date: Oct 15, 2021 
Pricing: FREE  

Once again, there'll be no oceanfront resort stays this year, but school leaders can still ride the waves of professional growth. Join NJPSA and hundreds of principals and supervisors from across the state for this premier gathering of school leaders. Set your background to display the beach setting of your choice and indulge in the numerous training sessions  and plentiful networking opportunities planned for this virtual event.  This year’s conference is a free half-day experience; however, registration is required. 



EdCamps & Unconferences 


Edcamp: Design for Learning Series -Identity
Date: September 18, 2021 
Time: 11am - 2pm 
Pricing: Free

If you are an educator who does not shy away from the important but challenging work of identity development for self and others, then this Edcamp is for you.  Organizers invite educators to share their experiences and expertise related to questioning their belief systems, sense of self, and sense of belonging, particularly where social, cultural, or family norms are concerned. How have those experiences informed their work in classrooms or school leadership? How can we get better at this work?  Discuss these questions and more while holding space with colleagues looking to share, network, and build a professional learning community committed to designing learning experiences with identity in mind. Connect with organizers on Twitter using #EdcampDfL before and during the event! 


American Association of Teachers of Spanish & Portuguese-NJ 
Location: New Brunswick, NJ 
Date: October 2, 2021 
Time: 8am - 12pm 
Pricing: $25 

Spanish and Portuguese teachers can sharpen their instructional strategies at the fall workshops planned by AATSP-NJ. Workshop topics include: PBL in World Language Classroom, How to use Technology in World Language Classroom and Student Autonomy. In addition to workshops, participants can expect a wonderful half-day of networking as they learn with and from one another on the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. 


Foreign Language Educators of NJ
Location: Virtual 
Date: October 7, 2021 & December 2, 2021 
Time:4pm - 6pm 
Pricing: $20  for Members 

Tapping into a learning community that aligns with your teaching interest can be fulfilling personally and professionally. It helps teachers expand their range of strategies for serving every student well. For teachers of World Languages, the Foreign Language Educators of NJ is that community. This fall, they are offering a VIRTUAL PD Series to help members meet their students' needs by addressing topics such as Designing Culturally-Driven Units of Instruction and Making Language Accessible for ALL Learners.  Grab a membership and a seat in these sessions by visiting their website


Date: October 9, 2021 
Time: 8:30am - 12:30pm 
Pricing: Free   

In case you haven’t heard, their WIDAe Conference is sold out, but there is still plenty of virtual space for ESL, Bilingual, and other teachers at this EdCamp organized by NJTESOL/NJBE.  Focused on ESL and Bilingual Education, this half-day virtual gathering will feature a variety of sessions addressing equity issues and distance learning. Organizers and session leaders will also share updates about the WIDA 2020 Standards Framework and its application in New Jersey ESL and Bilingual classrooms. Do not miss the opportunity to stock your toolkit or grow your professional learning network at this important theme-focused EdCamp. 


Mindfulness, Identity and Social Emotional Learning PD Workshop 

The Newark Museum of Art has creatively woven Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Visual Art to bring education and engaging professional learning experience. Planned as an in-person event, this workshop will help teachers lead students in deepening their observations of works of arts such as sculptures, painting, and cultural artifacts. Another objective of the session is to improve student discussions about art by introducing facilitation skills grounded in  mindfulness activities that address SEL and personal identity.  

Location: Newark, NJ 
Date: October 21, 2021 
Time:4pm - 7pm 
Pricing: $12-$15 


Podcasting and Blogging for Teachers
Location: Montclair, NJ 
Date: October 27, 2021 
Time: 6pm – 7pm 
Pricing: Free 

Whether you are interested in creating a podcast or blog to share your ideas with the education world or leveraging these tools for the educational benefit they offer students, this free workshop offered by the  ADP Center for Learning Technologies can help you.  During this workshop, teachers will learn the fundamentals of these latest trends in education. Organizers will review how to use these platforms for strengthening skills in research, writing, and collaboration for students and for expanding professional impact for teachers. What’s more, they will also discuss tools and applications to help you effectively create content and media. 



National Conferences 


2021 Annual Learning Forward Conference
Dates: December 5-7, 2021 
Pricing: TBD 

Learning Forward’s 2021 Annual Conference invites all educators to join colleagues, inspiring practitioners, and thought leaders online to learn new strategies and methods. Learn from well-known educators, Gloria Ladson-Billings and Jahl Mehta on how to address the most pressing issues for education leaders including improving virtual and in-person instruction, social-emotional learning, culturally responsive pedagogy and more.   


2021 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
Dates: November 19-21, 2021 
Pricing: $210+ 

The ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo would like to invite you to engage in the world’s most comprehensive language education meeting. Participate in numerous educational sessions that focus on innovative programs, emerging trends that impact the language profession, and research-informed practices. Here you will find exhibitor sponsored workshops, the ACTFL Collab Zone, the Social Media Lounge, a Career Café, the ACTFL Confer-station Corner, and much more. Take your skills to the next level and join colleagues from around the world during this online gathering for language learning professionals.

If you’re considering following your dream of teaching, Rutgers Alternate Route can offer you the support and training you need to succeed. Be sure to follow Rutgers Alternate Route on Twitter and sign up for Alternate Route’s monthly newsletter for more information and stories from the field of education.  


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Heather Ngoma

Heather Ngoma has over 20 years experience collaborating with educators across New Jersey to drive education innovation. She currently serves as the Director of Rutgers University's Alternate Route Teacher Training Program at the Center for Effective School Practices, a program which helps career changers, recent college graduates and other aspiring education professionals become licensed teachers in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter @heatherngoma.