It probably comes as no surprise that professional development helps you improve your work. Getting away from your daily routine and learning what others in your field are doing can renew your enthusiasm and arm you with fresh ideas. But convincing your boss to let you go can be hard. There are budget constraints to consider and there are many conferences for the education industry. How do you choose which one to attend? This year the Families Learning Conference will be held in Tucson, Arizona, from October 9-11. Here are five reasons attending will increase your success as a literacy professional. 1. Choose from among 100+ concurrent sessions of robust content [caption id="attachment_10034" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Attendees at 2016 Families Learning Summit[/caption] Past attendees of the Families Learning Conference have cited our wide range of sessions as the number one reason to attend our conference. Find sessions on early childhood education, adult education, family literacy, family engagement, libraries, digital resources, and policy and federal funding. Target your professional development by following a strand (or track) of sessions such as early childhood education, adult education, and Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. 2. Save 20% off an already reasonable registration rate with early bird pricing Between now and July 15, save 20% and register for only $399. Registration includes two and a half days of professional development sessions, keynote speakers, a dinner banquet Monday evening, brunch Wednesday morning, exclusive Screenagers film viewing and discussion with the co-producer, and so much more! Many of our past attendees factor our conference into their organization's budget using district or school-based funding, ESSA (including Title I, Migrant, Indian Education, etc.) funds, or funding through community agencies. On July 16, the registration price increases to $500. Save while you can, but also know that even if you miss the early bird deadline, you are still registering for a rate lower than many other conferences. 3. Expand your professional learning network while renewing your spirit [caption id="attachment_10036" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Enjoy the evening tequila toast and other networking opportunities during the Families Learning Conference[/caption] Located at the foothills of the beautiful Sonoran Desert, this year’s Families Learning Conference takes place at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. You’ll enjoy sharing ideas with your peers while participating in the resort’s unique daily rituals. Begin your morning at sunrise with the sounds of a Native American flute playing and the smell of burning sage during the Mitakuye Oyasin (Mee-tah-kay Awe-sin) Morning Ritual. After a full day of absorbing strategies and ideas for your work, end the afternoon with a complimentary tequila toast -- a different type served each evening. 4. Hear stories of inspiration from keynote speakers The Families Learning Conference is known for featuring keynote speakers who are engaging, entertaining, and inspirational. 2017’s lineup will not disappoint. Hear a gripping story of perseverance, resilience, and optimism from J.R. Martinez, U.S. veteran turned public speaker and author. Be inspired by Billy Mills, the only American to ever have won Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters and member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. 5. Refresh your mind and body at JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa Okay, this last one may be more for you than to convince your boss! As an attendee, not only will you receive high quality professional development, but you’ll also be able to reward your hard work with a relaxing and invigorating stay at a luxurious resort. [caption id="attachment_10035" align="aligncenter" width="600"] JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa offers many amenities[/caption] Hike or bike desert trails accessible directly from hotel property. Feel like a kid while enjoying the hotel’s water slide and lazy river. Soak in the rays while lounging by the reflection pools. [caption id="attachment_10038" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Exclusive viewing of the film Screenagers and discussion on Tuesday, October 10[/caption] Tuesday evening, attendees will enjoy food truck cuisine while viewing an exclusive screening of the Screenagers film and taking part in a discussion—under the stars and in the desert, no less! For anyone wrestling over screen time debates, this event will provide some much needed information and reflection. Studies indicate that time away from work leads to better job performance and productivity. With a low rate of $194/night (plus $1/night resort fee) available three days before and after the Families Learning Conference, make a vacation out of your trip! With a conference this good, your boss will likely want to come along too! Visit familieslearning.org/conference to register for the Families Learning Conference 2017 and to book your stay at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa.