We embrace the opportunity to learn with educators within and beyond our district during UTC. Currently about 40% of our presenters are from outside of Greenville County Schools. By restricting attendance to only GCS employees, we would be forced to cap our total attendance by at least 40% to ensure enough workshops are offered for participants.
The safety and comfort of our attendees is a priority for us. Capping attendance allows us to ensure that we are not violating building fire codes and that we have enough sessions to accommodate all participants during each time slot.
Currently there are three ways to guarantee your space in this year’s conference:
We do not offer a one day ticket to UTC. Our goal is that participants who register commit to attend both days of the conference. If you are unable to attend both days, we would ask you to consider not registering so that someone who can attend both days has the opportunity to do so.
We certainly understand that circumstances arise which prevent participants from being able to attend. However, we depend on the professionalism of our participants in letting us know as soon as possible that you cannot attend so that we do not print materials for you. Each year, we print materials for a staggering number of participants who did not cancel their registration prior to the deadline. This is not only an expensive problem, it also prevents other participants from being able to attend UTC. Help us continue to offer UTC as a free conference by communicating with us when there is a change of plans.
Lunch is provided by a variety of food truck vendors located in the front of WHHS. Each food truck offers a variety of options for a moderate price. However, if the available options or cost of the food trucks is not preferable, participants are given the option of leaving campus and visiting a nearby restaurant or staying on campus and enjoying a bag lunch from home.
Based on our UTC participant survey which is conducted each year following the conference, a large number of participants prefer to enjoy a quick snack for lunch and attend as many sessions as possible during the day. By staggering sessions around the popular lunch times, we are excited to give all participants the option of how to spend their lunch hour.
No. Like national conferences, UTC offers first-come, first-served sessions. The Sched app is provided to participants as a convenient organizational tool for planning the day.
We never cancel sessions unless we have no other choice. Each year, however, we do have presenters who do not show up for their assigned workshops or who have emergencies that prevent them from following through on their commitment. We are genuinely sorry for the disappointment that cancelled sessions cause our participants.
Unfortunately, because our sessions change each year based on presenter availability, current educational technology trends, teacher interests, and district initiatives, it is impossible for us to predict which sessions will be the “most popular” accurately. We do try to anticipate this by repeating most sessions in multiple time slots.
We are aware that from time to time, our presenters utilize significantly less time than the hour allotted for their presentations. Please know that we address this issue with presenters multiple times prior to the conference in hopes that all sessions are high-quality and informative. We apologize for the frustration this causes and would encourage you to stop by the Help Desk during the conference and let us know if this happens during a session so that we can address it promptly.
Most people are unaware of the behind the scenes details that go into planning and hosting a free conference for 1200 participants. Each year, we investigate multiple possibilities for our host site. Currently, Wade Hampton High School offers the most efficient campus for our purposes including a central location in the district, a clear building layout for sessions and moving about the conference, and an extremely helpful staff and administration. We are grateful to WHHS for allowing us to invade their space for weeks at a time to plan and prepare UTC.
The safety and comfort of our attendees is a priority for us. Building fire codes require that we limit the number of participants in each room in case of an emergency. Prior to the conference, our staff sets up 35 chairs in each standard classroom so that we can accommodate the maximum number of participants. When the 35 spaces are filled, we will place a Session Full sign on the door and ask participants to respect the building fire code guidelines. If participants do not adhere to the request, our staff will ask them to leave the classroom to ensure the maximum number has been exceeded. We are sorry if this causes frustration, but we are committed to enforcing this policy for the safety of all who attend our conference. Your cooperation is appreciated.
As a free conference, UTC is possible because of the staff and facilities provided by Greenville County Schools. The expense of renting a conference space and the required equipment would make the conference cost prohibitive for many of our current attendees.
Please note: Participants are only permitted to register for the in-person or virtual conference, not both events.