Education leaders hailing from across the West Coast and beyond gathered in San Francisco, CA on Friday for a whirlwind meeting of the minds.
Discovery Education’s fifth Powerful Practices event provided local educators with a fertile soil for generating new instructional leadership ideas. They shared their own experiences, and heard fresh stories and strategies from leading educators from across the country about how other districts are closing the gap in student achievement.
Kicking things off on Friday morning, the San Francisco audience greeted keynote speaker George Couros, a thought provoking educator in the area of innovative leadership, teaching, and learning. Taking educators on a roller coaster of emotions, Couros shared how innovation and technology can empower students, helping them take an active role in their learning.
“This is what I truly believe: Kids need to feel inspired. Kids walk into schools full of wonder and questions, yet we often ask them to hold their questions for later so we can ‘get through’ the curriculum,” said Couros. “We forget that our responsibility isn’t solely to teach memorization or the mechanics of a task, but to spark a curiosity that empowers students to learn on their own. To wonder. To explore. To become leaders. We forget that if students leave school less curious than when they started, we have failed them.”
Following Couros’ rousing message to educators, attendees were swept off to their afternoon breakout sessions, hosted by a duo of Discovery Education curriculum specialists and educators from throughout the region. Audience members participated in collaborative discussions on topics that ranged from disciplinary literacy, to personalized learning, and professional development, aimed at arming attendees with actionable classroom strategies they can implement throughout their districts.
Among the session presenters were Fallbrook Union Elementary School District superintendent Dr. Candace Singh and Eric Forseth, the district’s superintendent of educational services. The pair shared Fallbrook’s story of rising over adversity to ensure students are offered a high-caliber education.
“We are not happy with pockets of excellence in teaching. We want to be sure that all of the classrooms in our district are offering really high quality instruction for our students,” said Dr. Singh.
After his final breakout session of the day, George Kastanis, a technology coordinator from Sacramento City Unified School District, had this to say about his experience:
“Thanks for the opportunity to get some more information about how to improve the engagement. We tend to lose focus when the bells and whistles of tech dazzle us and misdirect us,” he said.
For information on attending this year’s free Powerful Practices event in Seattle, visit the official website.
At Powerful Practices, attendees will:
- Hear from nationally renowned experts as they address equity and excellence.
- Collaborate with colleagues in breakout sessions featuring powerful practices in the areas of personalized learning, student engagement, culturally responsive classrooms, and formative assessment.
- Participate in interactive hands-on activities highlighting student-centered learning practices.
- Attend a panel discussion in which regional colleagues discuss powerful strategies to get teachers to best practices.
All registered attendees will have access to the following breakout sessions:
- Personalized Learning
- Culturally Responsive Classrooms
- Student Engagement
- Instructional Leadership Best Practices in Math, Social Studies, Science, and STEM