Thursday, August 6, 2015

Better Together: California Teachers Summit at Cal State University, Los Angeles

Educators are better together and it was most apparent on July 31, 2015. When about 15,000 teachers came together across 33 locations across the state of California to participate in one event to bring educators together to collaborate ideas, share stories, and engage in meaningful talk about hindrances, tribulations, and triumphs in the implementation of Common Core.
My colleague, Angelica Paz and I 

I was so excited when I first heard this event was happening and more delighted to actually be part of it! I gave the “EdTalk” at Cal State, Los Angeles. I was impressed how prepared the campus was for the influx of educators participating! It was evident that they had a stellar team putting it together, Agustin Cervantes; Director of Student Services, and Diane Fazzi; Associate Dean of the Charter College of Education, did an extraordinary job. We were hosted with a wonderful breakfast as we entered the main conference room. I was energized by the enthusiasm in the room and by the immediate conversations I was hearing at the tables. Everyone knew we were in for a day filled with information and hopeful that we would have a positive “gem” that we could take back to our schools.

One of the day's components I was especially interested in was the engagement during the edcamp sessions. I had only attended one other edcamp in the past, thus my experience was very limited. I am a professional learning trainer and usually work with an agenda or around some key targets. It was an unconventional experience and was hesitant about the process. Our edcamp facilitator, Georgina Tanaka from Downey Unified, reassured me that the process would be an easy transition that that educators would easily fall into the activity. She was absolutely right. I was amazed that about 90% of the participants were not familiar with edcamps, but were able to put topics of interest on the board and began guiding their own learning by setting topics of interests into the different rooms available. 
Our Instagram Moment! 

Educators looking at the edcamp topic board and the designated rooms
Conversations during edcamp
Educators engaged in edcamp conversations
When the participants went into their room of interest, they were engaged and facilitated their own room. I participated in two different sessions. I went to one room that was about “How do you make yourself more marketable to the teaching profession?” which was mostly comprised by educators recently graduated from their credentialing programs, and some administrators. The room was filled with questions on how to best present their professional portfolio and get an interview to turn into a job opportunity. It was wonderful to be part of the conversation and to share my 15 years experience as an educator and as a teacher leader. I discussed the importance of bringing artifacts to an interview, about keeping a blog or a professional online resource, and the lost art of the “thank you note.

Another session I attended had an interest in parent and teacher partnerships. This topic interested me since I am working on developing some parent university sessions for my district. I wanted to hear what others were doing with community outreach. Both sessions had real organic conversations about their concerns and opinions on the topic.

The California Teacher Summit could not have happened at a better time. Professional collaboration is an essential element to the teaching profession. We need opportunities to hear what is happening across the nation when it comes to the implementation of the Common Core standards and how to best support this shift in our instruction.

My “EdTalk” was titled “Why does teacher leadership matter?”
That's me! One of the participants sent me this picture! 

Here are a few of my slides I used to promote thought:

So what was my “gem” for the day? Collect information, share, engage, and continue the conversation!

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