2016 Conference Reflections

2016 OSROA 3Our 2016 School Safety Conference has come and gone. While the OSROA board takes a well deserved break and gets geared up for the start of a new school year, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on what was, in just about every measurable way, our finest conference ever.

Sunday evening (6pm-8pm) started with Shelley Rutledge and Courtenay McCarthy presenting on Rick Assessments, and they were well received. If you’re new to OSROA, you might not know that we always start our conference on Sunday evening. We figure that since most folks are already checked into the hotel, using this time on Sunday evening allows us to give you more time on Tuesday afternoon to get out and explore the area a bit.

Monday (8am-5pm) we heard from Sergeant AJ DeAndrea from the Arvada (Colorado) Police Department. Several of you considered AJ to be OSROA’s finest presenter ever! His first hand accounts of the experiences at Columbine High School, Platte Canyon High School, and the YWAM shooting were captivating. We appreciate his willingness to tell his stories honestly – the good, the bad and the ugly – so we can take those lessons back to our schools and agencies.

Ernie Whiteman finished things up on Monday with a history of school violence. We are very excited to have Ernie be a part of the conference this year. He was there in the beginning, helping to create OSROA from a group of SRO’s who were attending the DARE conference and wondering why they didn’t have an association of their own. Ernie – OSROA’s longest serving president – is a big part of why OSROA is as strong as we are today.

Tuesday (8am-3pm) we heard from Retired Columbine High School Principal,  Frank DeAngelis, and Virginia Tech University Survivor, Kristina Anderson. Each took a block of time to tell their own stories, then they combined for the final portion of the day to discuss steps we can all take to make our campuses safer and answer some of our group’s questions. Like AJ, their ratings were through the roof.

2016 OSROA 1

Wednesday (8am-noon) we finished up with Adolescent Brain Development Expert, Karen Williams. Karen, who is quick to point out that she is a social worker and not a neuroscientist, has a way of taking very complex material and presenting it in a way that is easy to understand. Even cops and educators who have worked with teens for many years learned something new from Karen!

The OSROA board takes care to plan a conference is different from one year to the next. We want to provide fresh material that is valuable for our members – something that makes an impact and has the power to motivate our school safety experts to affect change where change is needed. Our mission is Safer Schools and Safer Kids. We think that we accomplished that in 2016. And while a large portion of this conference focused on one subject (campus-based active shooter incidents) it’s pretty clear that hearing from a police officer, and school administrator and a survivor allowed us to present the topic from three very different points of view.

2016 was a year of “firsts” for OSROA. This was our first year at Salishan Spa and Golf Resort. What a gorgeous venue! The conference room was very nice, the rooms were great, the golf was incredible and the Sunset Suite was a wonderful location for us to host our hospitality room. Over the past few years the Hospitality Suite has become an important element of our conference.

We were offering the same “hospitality” way back at Eagle Crest, but because attendees were spread out over a large resort, it was more of a place to grab a snack/beverage to bring back to your room or condo. Since moving to the coast, the suite has become a valuable opportunity for our members connect and network with colleagues from all over the state. We appreciate the snacks, sodas and brewed beverages donated by Erickson’s Thriftway in Prineville, Rogue Brewery in Newport and Rusty Truck Brewing in Lincoln City.

For our educators, 2016 was also the first year that OSROA partnered with Southern Oregon University to offer our conference as a 3-credit elective class for a Masters of Education degree or Administrator Licensure. This is something that we hope to continue next year, and something that we think will attract even more educators to our conference. Additional information about this class is available here.

For those who might still need it, although I’m not sure why that would be, you can still download our 2016 conference brochure.

As for 2017… We are very excited to introduce Dr. Bernard James as our keynote speaker next year. Bernie is a longtime friend and ally of NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers) and I have seen him present at the national conference several times. He is a dynamic speaker and I have been trying to get him to an OSROA conference for several years!

So you’ll want to pencil in July 30-August 2, 2017 to attend next year. Contract details are still being finalized but the plan is to be back at Salishan.

2016 OSROA 2

Finally, I want to sincerely thank everyone for supporting OSROA. 2016 brought more attendees than we have ever hosted and we are certain that this record will be broken in 2017. See you next year!

Mike Jackson – OSROA President

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