The PSIA-AASI Team’s Annual Fall Workshop kicks off this weekend at Copper Mountain, Colorado. Copper will also host PSIA-AASI’s Fall Conference, with Division leaders coming together from across the country to clarify and make consistent education and certification plans to benefit all instructors. With all of this occurring, we sat down with Professional Development Manager Earl Saline to get a preview before he gets deep into the events.
It looks like the 2012-13 season is really kicking off with a bang this week. What are you most looking forward to in terms of the Fall Conference?
There are two things. First is the chance to bring representatives from all of our divisions and credential programs together at one place, at the same time. The amount of knowledge and skill this represents for the organization is huge! I can’t wait to see the new ideas this group brings and see and hear about the results out in the divisions.
The second piece I’m really excited about is the chance this provides for PSIA-AASI to work toward the consistent interpretation and application of our national standards across the country. As a member, when you get certified, you should be able to expect that it means the same thing across the country.
PSIA-AASI: Why does it matter that educators from all the divisions are gathering at Copper? What does this mean to PSIA-AASI members?
ES: This event really matters because there’s now the chance to connect with and share ideas and knowledge across the divisions and different disciplines in one place. Which is new and different than what we’ve done in the past.
As a member, you should see even greater consistency in the information and training you get from your division staff as your division reps bring the information back from the event and share it with others in your division. And, for those members certified in multiple disciplines or going through the multi-discipline cert process, this event opens the door for greater consistency across the different disciplines as well. As a multi-discipline certified member of PSIA-AASI, I think a certain amount of consistency from discipline to discipline is a good thing as long as we keep the uniqueness of each discipline alive.
How do members benefit from consistently applied education and certification programs across the country?
ES: As a member, the biggest benefit will be knowing that your training and credential carries equal weight in every other division. This is important when you are moving to another part of the country or applying to work for a new area. When a school knows that, for example, a PSIA or AASI Level II from Division “X” has been assessed at the same level as someone within their own division or school, they can be more sure of the knowledge and skills that person brings.
Why is the national organization funding this meeting—what is the long-term vision for how this will impact educators across the country?
The motivations behind this event and funding it are to increase the value of being a member by really driving the core ideas of quality, consistency, and credibility in PSIA-AASI certification programs. These are the central initiatives of the PSIA-AASI Strategic Education Plan (SEP) which is focused towards increasing the value of our education and certification programs for our members.
The Fall Conference will help PSIA-AASI achieve these specific SEP goals by increasing the communication, knowledge and understanding across the association. And, as member, you should expect to see higher quality education and greater consistency in what you get from your division as a result of their participation at Fall Conference. The long-term vision is that you are more successful and valuable as an instructor because of your PSIA-AASI membership and certification.
What about with the Team Workshop—how does getting the Teams on snow this early in the season work to the benefit of the members?
As a member, what you hear from one team member should align with what you get from another. The words may be slightly different but the message should be similar. The workshop is a special animal in that it allows the teams to focus their message and goals for the season so that they are tight on these concepts before they’re on the snow skiing and riding with the membership.
It seems like there are a lot of opportunities right now for promoting quality instruction, from national initiatives like Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, to the advent of rocker technology. How do these events at Copper help focus and even propel the momentum?
Wow, that’s a big question… From the team side we are looking at new and innovative ways for our members to help guests have a great time, regardless of what’s on their feet. To do this well, we have to take into account the changes in equipment technology (i.e., rocker) as well as how the lesson is delivered. The success of initiatives like LSSM hinges on people having a great time with their on-snow experience. PSIA-AASI uses events like those being held at Copper to research and develop innovative approaches in teaching skiing and riding that we can then share with you and the other instructors in your school. The bottom line is if your student is having more fun and is successful sooner, there’s a greater likelihood they’ll return, whether it’s for their second time or their hundredth.