Thursday, December 2, 2010


Keynote speaker, TDA Assistant Commissioner Jimmy Bush, connected
with the crowd on Day One.
In case you're new to this blog, you may not have heard me talk about our state association for school IPM coordinators, TIPMAPS.  Short for Texas IPM Affiliates for Public Schools, the group is an affiliate of the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO), a well-respected professional organization for school professional in our state. 

The TIPMAPS group recently held its second annual meeting.  According to TASBO, the conference was attended by over 220 attendees and vendors, representing 108 school districts.  The business meeting on the second day of the conference held over 90 participants, significantly more than 2009.  This is wonderful growth for this new group, and seems to indicate that school IPM coordinators are beginning to take ownership of their relatively new profession.

For me the highlights of the meeting were hearing coordinators and school administrators present their own take on how IPM works in Texas schools.  Jim Olenski, Greenville ISD, gave an excellent presentation on how to get staff on your side in a school IPM program.  "Don't be a battleship [trying to bend people to will]," Jim said.  Instead, "be a cheerleader." Encourage folks in the positive things they do, and respect the contributions everyone makes to the district.

Martha Buckner, Humble ISD, shared her insights as to how to work with school boards.  Knowing your board members as individuals, knowing what makes them tick, their special interests and their connections in the district is key to developing a working relationship there.

Charles Adams, Sherman ISD, shared his extensive experience with trapping wildlife with two classes.  The highlight of his talk was watching him do an outdoor inspection of the hotel and find rat activity (one jumped out of a burrow in front of the class) and raccoon scat a few feet from the elegant outdoor dining area.  Everyone in the training was also treated to a whiff of several baits guaranteed to drive critters wild.

This year's keynote speaker was Mr. Jimmy Bush, Assistant Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture, over all pesticide programs including school IPM.  Many people cited Bush as one of the highlights of the conference, as he gave an understandable overview of how pesticides are regulated in the state.  In addition to Bush, Randy Rivera gave an informative session on IPM and ag science programs; and inspector Perry Cervantes explained the licensing process and how to get the necessary training for unlicensed employees.

Comments from participants included:
  • Appreciated the fact that unlike some CEU programs, speakers were not spokesmen for particular products
  • Enjoyed the opportunity to network and see what other schools are doing
  • It was nice to meet and greet the vendors
  • Hearing from people from different fields [of expertise] helps
  • Well prepared and knowlegable speakers.  I appreciate the in-depth information
  • Wish I had come last year!
  • Can't wait till next year...
To see more photos from this year's conference, click here.  And if you couldn't make this year's event, don't miss it in 2011.  The hotel is reserved and ready for next time.

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