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Our Vice President of Programs & Professional Development, Chris Hersl posted the following information in the all-member forum. To reach the widest possible audience we are reposting here:

As we get ready to release the 2020 Call for Proposals I wanted to share some info with you.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my first year as a SHAPE America employee it is to be as transparent as possible. As a member of the teaching community I had heard lots of rumors about how sessions get selected for SHAPE America’s National Convention and in 2019 it was going to be my job to oversee that process. Along the way we had nearly 1000 proposals for about 300 available slots submitted last year during our annual call. You can do the math…..

Among the rumors I heard during my years as a member of the organization were:

  1. Some proposals weren’t even read
  2. PE, Health, Research, (fill in any other category) was SHAPE’s preference and we programmed heavy in that area
  3. People on the committee’s pick their friends.
  4. Nobody gets in on their first try

Here are some things I can assure you:

  1. Each and every single proposal was read by a minimum of 4 people.
  2. We don’t have a favorite category; we strive for a balanced program that meets the needs of all members.
  3. Nobody gets to pick their friends. Ever.

As the 2020 Call for Proposals comes out, let me clarify the process. The call is open to anyone to submit. All proposals are reviewed by at least three people blindly, rated and scored and then ranked. The scored list makes it back to headquarters and is organized for the Convention Selection Committee from first to last. Each subgroup (Health Ed, Phys Ed, Advocacy, etc….) is given a number of sessions based on our attendance trends and feedback from previous conventions. In general they select from the top and work their way down. There are times that sessions are rejected for ones that are lower on the list. Usually, this is because there are multiple excellent presentations on the same topic or the type of presenting room requested has been filled. (i.e. We can’t accept an activity session into a roundtable room).

After the selection process we notify all presenters and then we work on hand scheduling the sessions for the year. The schedule undergoes several reviews in our building and among leaders from the field. Finally, we announce the schedule and then it is fast forward to the Convention.

So why am I sharing this with you? The 2020 Call for Proposals is about to open and I want to introduce some changes and additions that are happening in the process.

First, we are adding some new categories for anyone to choose from. In addition to categories that we have all become familiar with participants will also have the opportunity to enter a proposal for a session in new categories including: Technology in Health Education, Technology in Physical Education, SEL in Health Education, SEL in Physical Education.

Additionally, all technology sessions will be reviewed by members of the field with some expertise in using technology in their teaching and administrative roles. We have heard your feedback that you are interested in a more dedicated technology track and we will have that available to you. Another change we have for you this year is that we will be sharing the scoring tools used by reviewers as they evaluate session proposals. This is a best practice that we encourage in teaching and we are accountable to do the same thing with our programs.

Finally, I want to share that our popular feedback day will be returning this year after acceptance notices go out. Our team will personally take time to talk with you at your request if you would like feedback about your proposal. Over 20 members took this option last year and it is one we are happy to repeat.

We are honored that you choose to share your knowledge of the field as a SHAPE America member and we can’t wait to begin to receive proposals for the 2020 National Convention in Salt Lake City.

Best of Luck,


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