Education Leaders Gather for Spring Conference
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – About 55 educators showed up at the Red Lion Hotel on Tuesday for an all-day conference aimed to help them, among other things, enhance their skills and share resources.
“It’s been a very successful day so far,” said Wendie Munoz, a teacher at Canyon Ridge High School and member of the Idaho Core Coaching Network.
The network, comprised of a select group of teachers from across the state, was developed in 2013 by the Idaho State Department of Education as a way to enhance resources and skills for educators.
Each of the six regions of the state has a “Core Coach” – Region IV’s is Ann Christensen – who serves as a mentor to the other “teacher leaders” in the region. The teacher leaders, in turn, provide resources and training to their region’s school districts and teachers.
The spring conference, held in each region, is a way to get the coaches and other teacher leaders together, network, and learn from one another.
The local conference, which ran from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., comprised several different breakout groups in the hotel’s banquet rooms.
In one room after the group’s lunch break, Michelle Anderson, a sixth-grade teacher from Kimberly schools, presented a slideshow and asked the 12 educators in the room what they wanted their students to have learned by the end of the school year?
The answers varied, but each of them demonstrated that the teachers wanted their kids to find success in their educational experience.
“To think critically,” one teacher said.
“To make connections between life and the content they are learning,” said another.
Another teacher said, “To find their own solutions – I can’t teach them everything.”
And still another teacher said she wanted her students to “ask for help,” then quickly adding that she wanted her students to know that, “just because you ask for help doesn’t mean you’re stupid.”
There were many more responses, and Anderson took her black marker and wrote them on poster board taped to a wall.
A few minutes later, she asked the teachers another question, this one with the students’ future careers in mind: “What skills are important to a professional in your content area?”
In other words, she explained, what skills are important for students to develop that’d prepare them for careers later in life?
“The mechanics of reading, writing and speaking,” are important skills, said one teacher. Others concurred, saying that communication skills are paramount in many fields.
Other teachers said math, computer skills, financial know-how, flexibility and a good work ethic are important for students to learn during their school years.
Teachers said the conference was beneficial to them in many ways.
The material received from every session, and which can be used in the classroom, was important to Filer High School teacher Michelle Marquardt. So was the opportunity to “network and development relationships with educators across the state,” she said.
Munoz said she deemed the conference a success. It accomplished what it was intended to: “enhance skills, get resources, and build relationships,” she said.