President Robert S. Nelsen, left, Education Dean Vanessa Sheared and state schools chief Tom Torlakson salute teachers at the Better Together summit with a "Stingers up!" (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)
Approximately 15,000 teachers, teacher candidates, and school administrators gathered on Friday, July 31, at 33 universities throughout California, including Sacramento State, for the Better Together: California Teachers Summit.
Sac State welcomed about 380 attendees at the Harper Alumni Center.
The free, first-time event was designed to facilitate networking opportunities for the state’s PreK-12 teachers to share successful classroom practices. One key aim was for teachers to emerge from the day with concrete tools and strategies for navigating recent changes in the California Standards in English language arts/literacy and math. The summit also featured three 15-minute “ED Talks,” modeled after the global-scale TED Talks run by the Sapling Foundation.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was on site at Sac State, as was Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen. "You are part of the most noble profession in the world,” Nelsen told the teachers. “We are incredibly grateful for you. … Send your students here. We will take care of them, I promise."
Torlakson hailed the “awesome occasion” and told the teachers, “I heartily endorse the theme ‘Better Together.' I refer to you as the dream team.”
Two keynote speeches were broadcast to all participants, who then took part in small breakout sessions at their particular locations. The breakout sessions were modeled after Edcamp sessions, which, unlike traditional conferences, are not planned or scheduled until just prior to the event and strongly emphasize interactivity.
“Teachers are already driving innovation in the classroom and providing a bright future for California students,” Torlakson said before the event. “This event gives teachers a chance to grow professionally by allowing them to share their ideas, ingenuity, passion, and best practices. It can help teachers make an even bigger difference in the lives of California students.”
Nelsen said the University was pleased to host the summit.
“Sacramento State is committed to providing quality educational opportunities for P/K-12 teachers, administrators, and others who are responsible for educating our children throughout the Sacramento region and beyond,” Nelsen said. “This work is crucial to boosting college readiness in our schools.”
The summit was sponsored by the California Department of Education, the California State University, the New Teacher Center, and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. – Ahmed V. Ortiz
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