Stanislaus State will be a host site once again for the annual Better Together: California Teachers Summit, which will draw thousands of teachers to 35 locations across the state on July 28.
This year’s Summit will feature a livestream keynote address by Jill Biden – lifelong educator and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Hosting the event is a way for Stan State to underscore its commitment to the education of our region. The University takes pride in being a leader in the Valley in teacher education.
To continue the success the University has achieved in this area, Stan State holds three major education conferences each year. All are dedicated to providing meaningful information, professional development, networking opportunities and resources for teachers before, during and after they have embarked on a career in the K-12 education system. These conferences make candidates more competitive in their fields and help them become better teachers in the classroom.
"The more we can communicate and share with each other and talk across institutional divisions, the better off we will be in preparing the next generation of teachers to do a better job,” said Oddmund Myhre, dean of the College of Education, Kinesiology and Social Work. “These meeting places among practitioners are very rare but also important.”
“These conferences provide enhanced professional development,” said Tara Ribeiro, director of Teacher Recruitment and Retention. “Our hope is that future teachers acquire preparation and experience before entering the credential program. Attending workshops like these will help them develop as professionals above and beyond. At Stan State, we strive to have the most prepared teacher candidates in the Valley.”
Better Together: California Teachers Summit
The Better Together: California Teachers Summit is a statewide effort and the CSU system has been a leader in this initiative from the beginning. It’s a place where teachers learn from teachers through Edcamp-style sessions.
“It’s a little bit of a feel-good thing. It’s an inspiring moment,” Myhre said. “A wide variety of topics come up and attendees come together and discuss them. It creates networks within our region.”
Approximately 300 K-12 teachers and teacher candidates attend Stan State’s summit each year, and thousands participate across the state. The keynote address is broadcast to all of the sites, as well as greetings, salutations and inspirational messages from conference sponsors. Then, each site leads teachers and future teachers in breakout sessions to address topics of their choosing, and participate in TED-style ED talks.
“The CSU is pleased to support and engage in the third annual Better Together Summit, which honors and celebrates the profession of teaching,” said Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, CSU’s assistant vice chancellor for teacher education. “Educators across the state will have the opportunity to share best practices that support the learning of all PK-12 students to ensure student success.”
The goal of the Teachers Summit is for teachers to learn from each other. They propose the topics they’d like to discuss at the conference, and then break off into groups to have meaningful conversations about the areas they most want to learn about. Together, they help each other solve classroom problems and benefit from shared knowledge.
“At its core, the Teachers Summit is about teachers helping teachers,” Ribeiro said.
Student to Teacher Conference
An annual conference open to teacher candidates, undergraduate and graduate teachers, new teachers, paraprofessionals and substitute teachers, the annual Student to Teacher Conference hosted at Stan State gets teachers started on the right foot in their teaching careers.
The conference includes targeted workshops with differentiation of instruction to meet the varying positions of attendees, presentations from teaching professionals and skills workshops aimed at helping future teachers land jobs after graduation.
With 75 percent of attendees described as future teachers, the conference is a unique opportunity for those interested in a career in teaching — or on the path to becoming a teacher — to get a leg up on the competition. The other 25 percent are current K-12 teachers.
“There’s a big difference between getting trained at a credential program and what happens when you’re actually teaching,” Ribeiro said. “The first two years are the hardest.”
The conference focuses on addressing roadblocks teachers may face in their careers and giving them the tools and skills to overcome those challenges. Lesson planning and classroom management are both important areas, and these conferences help teachers strengthen their skills in those areas. And because such a large percentage of attendees are still pursuing either their degree or their credential, it’s a rare opportunity for future teachers to prepare themselves before stepping into a K-12 classroom.
Participating teachers are eligible to receive continuing education units (CEUs), which are considered when educational institutions grant raises to teaching staff.
Educational Technology Conference
At the Educational Technology Conference (ETC), future teachers and current teachers are given the opportunity to learn from field experts how to best integrate technology into instruction. It’s a rare chance for the K-12 system to partner with higher education institutions, bridging a gap in education. Around 1,000 people attend the annual conference, a partnership between Stan State and the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE).
“It is important for K-12 to see what the expectations are for an incoming college student, and conversely for University staff to see what experiences have contributed to the skill set of a graduating senior,” said Luke Hibbard at SCOE. “Many teachers struggle with how to make technology a part of daily operations within a classroom. ETC allows teachers to not only network with other teachers that are utilizing technology but to see real world application of these tools and how they impact student learning.”
In addition to the hundreds of teachers in the region who attend, faculty from across the nation are sponsored by their institutions to come to campus and learn about a wide variety of issues regarding educational technology.
“It’s probably the largest conference of its kind in our area,” Myhre said.
“The work done at the conference extends to the surrounding community in the form of student engagement,” Hibbard said. “Skills and ideas cultivated at the conference are carried into classrooms and reach students who ultimately contribute to the community and become leaders.”
Teachers who attend the conference also benefit from lifelong learning and continuing education credits.