By Marilyn Huerta
Connecting and staying connected was the theme that echoed throughout the large lecture hall when site leader, Leslie Mauerman kicked off the Better Together: California Teachers Summit the morning of July 31. The one-day summit at CSUSM, attended by approximately 250 local teachers, was part of a statewide initiative that included 33 locations across the state.
“Teachers were invited to explore a new model for professional learning and teachers were brought together to teach teachers,” said Mauerman.
It was a summer-vacation day for most of the participating teachers, but that didn’t stop them from engaging in powerful conversations and being part of this groundbreaking approach to supporting education, led by the Educators, advocates, and teachers shared academic resources and strategies to support the implementation of new teaching standards. Attendees discussed the importance of collaboration and networking, and effective practices for the classroom.
“We have come together today because we believe that teachers matter, stressed CSUSM School of Education
Live-streamed keynote speakers included Actress Yvette Nicole Brown, a champion of teachers, and NASA Astronaut and STEM Educator Leland Melvin. In addition, three ED Talk speakers were hosted at each location. At CSUSM, Murdy Elementary Teacher, Cami Walker presented “Prepare, Care, Share!” Three Ways to Re-Ignite Passion. Kearny High School Teacher, Carissa Barnes presented “Equipping, Empowering and Engaging for the 21st Century” and Instrumental Music Director and Vice President of Jazz Music, Justin Padilla, followed up with a presentation titled “Inspiring Growth in Yourself and Others.”
“It’s amazing,” said Brenda Hall, director of the North County Professional Development Federation. “Hundreds of teachers are learning together and it’s phenomenal.” The power of the ED Camp model—and everyone involved—is going to make a big difference for teachers.”
The summit also offered breakout sessions on topics ranging from technology and social media, to classroom management and project-based learning. One of the beauties of the breakout sessions was that participating teachers decided which topics they would discuss. The freedom of choosing discussion topics provided an opportunity for teachers to focus on challenges they faced in today’s teaching profession.
This day was a day of networking and an opportunity for teachers to learn from teachers. As new California Standards are implemented with rapid changes, teachers need and deserve support. Attendees were connected to peers in education and they were provided academic resources and innovative tools to use in the classroom. Children matter but on this day, teachers were reminded that they matter too!