Area Educators to Discover, Share ‘Superpowers’ at Annual Regional Curriculum Conference
KILGORE — Region 7 area educators have the opportunity to discover their teaching “superpower” through enhanced learning opportunities at the Region 7 ESC 2014 “I Teach! What’s Your Superpower?” Curriculum Conference taking place June 11-12 at the ESC located at 1909 N. Longview St. in Kilgore.
Teachers interested in attending the conference can review conference sessions and register online by visiting the conference web page, which can be accessed by clicking on the “Curriculum Conference” image on the home page of the Region 7 website at www.esc7.net. The conference fee is $50 for Region 7 area districts and charter schools, and $150 for out-of-region districts. The registration deadline is May 28.
This year’s two-day conference will feature more than 50 sessions covering a variety of innovative, engaging topics that are focused on student-centered learning. Participants can select up to five sessions a day with the opportunity to receive up to 10 professional development credits if they attend both days of the conference. Presenters include teachers and administrators from the Region 7 service area, as well as other leaders in education and technology.
“This is a great opportunity for educators to expand their professional network and gain insight from fellow educators across the region,” said Robin Salazar, a counselor at Elkhart High School in Elkhart ISD and a co-presenter at this year’s conference. “Region 7 does a wonderful job providing learning and training opportunities to schools in our region. The curriculum conference provides topics across a wide range of educational platforms, and allows educational partners to come together in a setting that encourages and highlights the strengths of Region 7 professionals.”
With the ability to preview all sessions online prior to registering for the conference, Region 7’s curriculum coordinator Betty Steele said participants can take the time to select the sessions that are of personal interest and relative to their current assignment.
“They have the power to hand-pick what they want and to attend multiple sessions,” she said.
Steele said most of the presenters and sessions are new, but there will be a few repeats of popular presenters from last year like Terry Carlile, who is a motivational speaker, author and director of TLC Solutions in Longview.
One of three sessions Carlile is presenting, “Increasing Your Toolbox”, will show educators how to incorporate real-life illustrations in teaching strategies as well as how to teach students soft skills needed for education and life through group games and activities.
“Participants can expect humor, restoring the passion, encouragement, and free and easy resources to apply day one from my sessions,” said Carlile.
Carlile is also presenting “Instilling Life Into a Zombie Culture,” which is focused on helping teachers figure out how to positively impact their students in the classroom, and his motivational session “When Super Power Runs on Empty” will help educators find healthy ways to cope with stress, frustration and burnout.
“It’s an investment to learn new concepts, reaffirm principles, meet new people, and be introduced to some perspectives that will assist the educator in continuing to be an asset to the students, school and community,” Carlile said of educators attending the conference.
Gilmer ISD Federal and Special Programs Director Kathy Musick is also a returning presenter, and this year she is presenting a session titled “Super Power of Words,” which is a fast-paced interactive session on vocabulary that will provide participants with strategies that can be used with a variety of lessons throughout the year.
Musick said her session will focus on interactive word walls, which are literacy tools that provide a visual presentation of commonly used vocabulary so that all students can read the words from their desks.
“Vocabulary is the cornerstone for every subject and discipline, and there are many ways to teach vocabulary,” said Musick. “Even if the teachers are already using word walls, they can learn about ways to enhance them in my session. The strategies will be easy to implement, and if done consistently over time, will increase the academic achievement of the students.”
With technology now being incorporated into most all of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the Texas state-mandated curriculum for K-12 education, technology is another popular topic among educators.
Salazar said she hopes to provide attendees of her session, “Technology Resources for Educators,” with new ideas that can be used at the district, campus or classroom level.
“Education may no longer separate itself form the impact of technology,” said Salazar. “Our session will highlight technology opportunities that are easily accessible to all educators and can be used within their current role so they can provide the best education and resources to those they serve. This session will also help meet TEKS standards by pioneering the use of technology in one’s current role as educator.”
Budgetary constraints can oftentimes create technological challenges for schools and teachers, and Salazar said her session will provide attendees with affordable resources and strategies.
“Most of the programs and opportunities we will discuss are free or of minimal charge and will allow educators to implement improved technology within their budgets,” she said. “Utilizing these opportunities will increase technological proficiency in administration, instruction and learning, while providing a smooth transition to the newest technologies available in education. Additionally, these opportunities will help propel learning, production and communication to the next level.”
As an educator who has helped her district plan staff development, Musick said that she has heard teachers express in the past that although the professional development was great, it didn’t apply to them, which is why she said she recommends that educators attend the Region 7 curriculum conference.
“Having looked through this year’s curriculum conference catalog, there is a wide variety of learning opportunities to choose from, so I think any educator can walk away feeling like their learning needs have been met,” said Musick. “Plus, because the presenters are area educators, there is an opportunity for attendees to learn from peers and to easily follow-up with the presenter to ask questions, get more information, or share feedback on strategies.”
Steele said this conference will help East Texas educators meet the 21st century challenges facing students and educators.
“This conference provides educators the opportunity to share their story, and in doing so, attendees and presenters alike will take away innovative ideas and strategies that will engage and motivate students in our 21st century classrooms,” she said. “The 21st century learner is faced with constant change, and it’s critical that we share in the journey for making East Texas the best it can be for the future of our students as they enter the workforce, careers, and post-secondary education.”
About Region 7 Education Service CenterRegion 7 ESC is committed to district, charter and student success by providing quality programs and services that meet or exceed customer expectations. One of 20 regional education service centers statewide, Region 7 ESC participates in the planning development, coordination, implementation and evaluation of innovative educational programs for 96 school districts and 10 charter schools in the counties of Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Nacogdoches, Rains, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Panola, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.