Fall 2020 Update

Hi everyone—

The start of a new school year always brings the excitement of a new TSA year. This year, however, the start of the school year is anything but typical. Some of you are attending school in masks at least six feet away from each other, some of you are taking part in a hybrid experience where you teach and learn in your schools some days and in your homes other days, and some of you are beginning the school year at home equipped with virtual learning tools. It is going to be a new adventure for all of us. While it is impossible to predict what will unfold in the coming weeks and months, please know that PA-TSA will continue to be a part of your school experience. National TSA has already reworked the competitive event rules for both the middle school and high school levels to reflect the varied and ever-changing educational settings. Specifically, 62 of the 73 competitive events are now designed to accommodate both virtual and in-person competitions. Check out the National TSA website for other new features added this year.


As the biggest part of what we do is our conferences, we wanted to take a few minutes now to update you on the current conference statuses:


FLEX (Fall Leadership Experience) Conference – Fall 2020 – VIRTUAL

The FLEX (Fall Leadership Experience) Conference, originally scheduled for November 1-2, 2020, is going to be a virtual event. The State Officers and FLEX Conference planning team are working to design a safe, virtual experience for you that will build on the momentum created by the success of last year’s inaugural event. More information will be forthcoming.


Regional Conferences – early 2021 – VIRTUAL

The PA-TSA Board of Directors met last week and made the determination that all Regional Conferences for 2021 will be held virtually. Historically, our regional conferences have been held in school buildings for ease of facilitation and as a way to keep costs low for our members. Nearly all host schools have already made the statement that no outside organizations (including TSA) will be permitted to use the school buildings for functions such as regional conferences this year. Additionally, our regional conferences bring together a large number of individuals, which in many geographic areas would violate the state’s safety guidelines for maximum number of people in a confined space. The Board of Directors are working to develop a list of regional required events and Regional Conference Coordinators will share that information with our membership as soon as it is available.  


State Conference – April 2021 – TBD

At this point in time, we are hopeful we will be able to hold an in-person State Conference at Seven Springs, as in past years. While we recognize this hope may be naïve and short-sighted, we recognize the value the State Conference holds for our members and will strive to continue to provide that experience. The State Conference Planning Team will continue to monitor CDC recommendations and directives from the state of Pennsylvania, as they develop. We will also continue to meet regularly to develop a contingency plan should it be necessary to move the State Conference to a virtual or hybrid format. It is our intention to make this decision prior to the start of the Regional Conferences.


National Conference – June 23-27, 2021 – HYBRID (BOTH IN-PERSON & VIRTUAL)

The National TSA Conference is to be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL. National TSA plans to facilitate a hybrid conference, making it possible for members to participate in person or virtually. Check out the National TSA website for further information.


We know this year is going to be particularly challenging. For advisors, PA-TSA has the potential to ease the transition to remote instruction as the competitive event rules have been revised to accommodate virtual learning. Competitive event rules are correlated with several sets of current educational standards, making them potentially appealing to curriculum supervisors and administrators.


One of the things we value most about TSA is the role it plays in social and emotional development. We have all seen unparalleled growth in our students when it comes to the development of valuable life skills. We have witnessed our students learn to resolve conflicts, present their ideas, and work together to accomplish a common goal. We have personally been energized by the enthusiasm and determination our students bring to their TSA work. All of this can still exist. We just have to do things a little differently this year. National TSA selected “Together Towards Tomorrow” as theme for the 2021 conference season. It’s fitting. We can do this. Together.


We’ll be in touch with more information as it becomes available. Stay safe. 


PA-TSA Board of Directors