Hello SWASFAA friends! I hope this finds you doing well in the midst of the chaos that is January. I created a blog post just prior to Christmas as a sort of soft launch for Board members and Committee Chairs – namely to ensure I did it right! – and now that it seems to be working as designed, I want to make sure that all SWASFAA members know about it. If you’d like to subscribe to get automatic updates, please do!
The 2021 SWASFAA Board will be meeting on January 25th and 26th, via everyone’s favorite format, Zoom. As I prepare for the meeting, I want to make sure that the things I convey to the Board, I convey to the membership at large as well.
First of all, if you would like to view the 2020 Virtual Academy sessions, they are now available on the 2020 Conference Presentations page. After you are logged in with your SWASFAA user name and password, you’ll find YouTube videos and PowerPoint presentations there for your reference. I apologize for this taking so long. One of the new skills I’ve now picked up is how to convert a Zoom recording into an edited YouTube video.
Second, we have big plans for 2021!
- We are looking into our options for training opportunities throughout the year, so if you have an idea for a topic, a presenter, or both, please let me know.
- Finding ways to connect, for both professional training and growth and personal development needs to remain a high priority. We’re all busy, sometimes overwhelmingly so, but we not only have to stay current to remain relevant and compliant, but we can’t ignore personal connections in our busyness. Those are even more important now since our virtual/remote lives may continue for the foreseeable future.
- The SWASFAA Policies and Procedures manual needs a comprehensive review and update, which will be a project that we’ll carry on through the entire year.
- Maintaining this blog with relevant and helpful information is one of my goals for the year, not only to communicate with membership, but to engage with you all in a method we haven’t tried in a while.
- We’re optimistically planning for an in-person Boot Camp and Conference in beautiful Albuquerque in November 2021. We fully realize that it will look different than anything we’ve ever done before, and that’s OK. If 2020 did nothing else, it reminded us how adaptable and flexible we have to be.
- And more through the year.
It certainly looks like 2021 is going to be another year in which we are tested, both on personal and professional fronts. Whether we’re talking about the continued pandemic and its affects, the federal omnibus (or Coronabus, as today’s NASFAA Off the Cuff called it) legislation that was passed just prior to Christmas and all the changes that will bring, political transitions that will bring change to all of us, and all the things that “etc.” can entail, we all have choices to make. Agree with them or not, the way in which we respond to these changes provides an opportunity to learn something new, to see things from a different perspective, to find a way to respectfully voice an opinion, to seek out innovation, to grant grace, and to receive grace. I encourage you to do all of these things, even when it is so hard to do. Especially when it is so hard to do.
One of the things I treasure most about associational involvement is the way we work together. We work best when we keep in mind that our jobs demand that we serve our students and families, but also that our lives becomes richer when we’ve worked to help one another. We serve to strengthen one another through our connections, our communications, our networking. These are invaluable, and if you’ve never gotten involved at the associational level, I cannot encourage you enough to give it consideration.
It may be another tough year, who knows? But along the way, I am grateful for being on the journey with each of you as we work together toward our common goals.
Mendy Schmerer, SWASFAA President