Bonded by a love of teaching, nearly 300 teachers and administrators from a wide swath of school districts descended on Cal Poly Pomona to discuss educational innovation at the second annual “Better Together: California Teachers Summit.”
The summit aimed to share approaches for implementing the new California Standards and classroom ideas as well as help teachers network. Cal Poly Pomona was one of 38 summit sites across California. Statewide, the July 29 event attracted more than 13,000 teachers, administrators, educators and students.
“In light of the looming teacher shortage, we must do more to celebrate and support teachers,” said Kristen Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. “The summit is a unique opportunity for teachers to come together to collaborate and re-energize ahead of the new school year.”
Nancy Hurlbut, interim dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Education & Integrative Studies, said the summit also provided a forum for a diverse group of teachers to learn about trends and innovations from their colleagues.
“This summit is important in many ways. One is it emphasizes the important role of teachers in our culture,” Hurlbut says. “It also emphasizes the partnership Cal Poly Pomona and CEIS have in supporting teacher professional development. It’s an opportunity for the community to know that we can be a resource they can count on and that we are a resource that is helping teachers work with teachers.”
Justin Lim, an instructional coach at Rosemead High School who earned his teaching credential from Cal Poly Pomona in 2007 and was a featured speaker at the summit, spoke on the future of teaching in his presentation, “Why Personalized Learning Is Inevitable.”
“This means that students and teachers work together to create learner profiles and design personalized learning plans,” Lim said. “These plans consist of actionable goals, action steps and reflection. Most importantly, students have the ability to impact their learning experiences.”
Peter Paccone, a San Marino High School social studies teacher who was another featured speaker, discussed “The TED-Ed Lesson” that examined ways for educators to spark the curiosity of the students in their classrooms.
The summit also featured keynote addresses by award-winning teacher and author Kelly Gallagher, who spoke about the importance of integrating writing across curriculums, and actor Ernie Hudson, who shared his inspiring story about how he was able to rise out of poverty to launch a Hollywood career because of the help of his teachers.
In addition to speakers, Edcamp sessions allowed teachers to pick their own topics —technology in the classroom, improving literacy in early education, boosting science, technology, engineering and math education — and exchange ideas with colleagues.
The summit also featured best practices for implementing the California Standards in English/language arts and math and the Next Generation Science Standards.
“As California embraces new ways of teaching and learning, teachers want more opportunities to connect with and learn from their peers,” said Ellen Moir, founder and CEO of New Teacher Center, a non-profit that supports new teachers. “Summit attendees join a growing network of teachers teaching teachers, giving them the opportunity to be both the experts and the learners.”
The California State University, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and the New Teacher Center partnered to stage the event.