If the AHEA Convention is on your schedule, you're in for a wonderful weekend filled with excellent sessions and opportunities to meet and visit with like-minded individuals.

The exhibitor hall can also be really exciting - or overwhelming, depending on how you look at it. I always recommend that families resist the urge to 'buy all the things'... it's tempting to see the shiny new curriculum and ditch something that is working quite well. On the other hand, there are so many great finds there, and educational extras galore....

Just try to really examine purchases before you make them, evaluating whether a resource is going to be useful or a potential hindrance to the goals you're trying to accomplish.

A helpful tip from a veteran convention attendee is to bring two bags with you – one for any promotional materials that aren’t quite what you’re presently looking for, and the other for materials you want to review before making your final choices – and then using some down time to review the contents in your second bag to plan purchases.

She also recommends going through the exhibit hall at least twice – the first time to see what is available, talk to vendors, and make notes, and the second (and subsequent) times to make purchases. She brings a highlighter to mark the exhibit hall map with those booths she intends to return to, and then uses that to keep track of the stops she still needs to make during exhibit hall hours.

WISDOM will be at AHEA again this year, and we will have Purchase Orders available for your use, as long as you have funding available. To use POs, simply pop by the WISDOM booth for a list of vendors accepting WISDOM POs, or look for the WISDOM POs Accepted Here signs throughout the hall.Once you've gathered your purchases together (being mindful of your EPP and the funding policy), the vendor will bag your items and keep them at the till, giving you an invoice. Please bring that invoice to the WISDOM booth. Saul or Melissa will take a look at it to be sure everything is good to go (ie: you have sufficient funding and your purchase reflects the resources listed on your EPP and falls within the funding policy). Then, they will give you a Purchase Order sheet, which you will give to the vendor in exchange for your purchase. Because your funding is tied to your current EPP, you may be required to amend your EPP before obtaining a PO#. You can do this at the WISDOM booth when you bring the invoice for approval.  Thanks for working with us to make this a happy and streamlined process!

Note: One of our long time PO partners, Donna Ward of Northwoods Press, has a great suggestion for families attending the convention.  When making purchases, vendors will ask you to fill in a form with your name, address, and phone number. This can slow the lines down, so her brilliant suggestion is to take pre-printed address labels along!

If you plan to make purchases, whether using purchase orders or paying for things directly, consider bringing an empty rolling suitcase or wheeled crate since it is can be a simple way to keep things together without having to carry heavy bags with you. Bring a sweater or dress in layers as the exhibit hall can be cooler or warmer than you may prefer. Wear comfortable shoes, since the exhibit hall is large and you’ll likely be doing quite a bit of walking.

We look forward to (hopefully) seeing you there!

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