To improve student career readiness, the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) hosts recurring virtual and in-person professional development conferences for the region’s educators with the help of Sched. 

San Diego County Office of Education’s story 

San Diego County has half a million K-12 students and 42 different school districts, each with their own initiatives. SDCOE is a network that brings teachers, counselors, and administrators together to share best practices on student career-readiness. 

The objective is to share best practices, connect educators to their college partners and help educators transition students to their next milestone. During their events, the region’s educators can discover their peer’s work in order to reproduce good ideas in their own classrooms. SDCOE’s college partners are also invited to host breakouts on relevant topics for the region’s educators. SDCOE has developed many career pathways initiatives for the K-12 space, such as coding, engineering, and building and construction classes. 

For many students, teachers and counselors are the primary source for information and direction about their post-high school options. SDCOE endeavors to share student perspectives with teachers, counselors and administrators. 

This year was SDCOE’s first in-person Career Pathways Conference and they selected Sched as their event planning software. The professional development event welcomed 250 educators in a venue with one main conference room and six breakout areas.

The challenge of organizing professional development conferences before Sched

Previously, SDCOE’s College & Career Readiness team hosted smaller virtual conferences or events with just one session at a time. They would create a PDF with a series of Zoom links and host more details on their website. 

Once they started to scale their conferences beyond two rooms, the event organization became too complicated to maintain their old system. Their in-person events typically have six concurrent sessions, and they needed to find an easy-to-use and affordable solution to manage the event’s logistics.

How did Sched help the San Diego County Office of Education?

  • Hosting virtual conferences

SDCOE used Sched for its virtual professional development during the pandemic. Setting up and running a digital conference was easy. It helped them to organize their event, including the ability to create multiple virtual breakout rooms. Sched also enabled them to archive the digital conferencing content, which they could post on their website to encourage attendance for the following year’s event. 

  • Helping attendees find their way around in-person professional development events

The SDCOE team wasn’t positive that their educators would immediately embrace Sched and its mobile app during the conference. They built a back up plan in case of technical issues, and had printed handouts ready. However, attendees opted for Sched to enhance their conference experience. The intuitive schedule builder allowed them to create their agendas ahead of the event and minimized confusion on the day. The organization could announce the schedule on their website and archive information such as session slide decks. 

  • Faster event management software adoption 

Sched’s interface was simple to use and implement. The team did not require additional training and the support documentation was easy to find and access. This saved the team time for other event management tasks. 

How did the San Diego County Office of Education choose Sched?

Jewyl Alderson, a former classroom teacher, is SDCOE’s Integrated Curriculum Coordinator today. Jewyl presents at many conferences and has experienced many event management software tools as a speaker. 

Jewyl felt like Sched is the least restrictive and easiest interface to use. The district liked this recommendation because Sched’s pricing plans are particularly attractive for non-profit and educational organizations. While most event scheduling software platforms charge $10, $20 or even $40 per attendee per event. Sched charges just $4 or less per attendee.

The Takeaways

Sched has been a core conference planning app for the San Diego County Office of Education across both their virtual and in-person professional development events and student conferences. They’ve benefitted from Sched because:

  • Archiving session materials with Sched was a great way to promote upcoming events. 
  • The platform is easy-to-use for organizers, speakers, and attendees alike.
  • Creating individual schedules ahead of time got attendees excited about the event and made them feel like they had ownership over their own professional development day. 78% of attendees built their schedules with Sched.