Teachers Getting Fit For The Classroom

During the summer months, families may slow it down a bit, plan reunions, vacations, and stay-cays, but the Johnston County Public Schools family will be busily preparing for its 2017-2018 school year students.  The district prides itself on personalized academics, but planning takes time and effort. Johnston County Public Schools’ commitment to its students and staff requires that June and July are dedicated to intentional professional development, according to Patty Whittington and Kelley Johnson, both of whom lead the district’s  elementary and secondary education programming.

On June 19, 20, and 21, elementary teachers will participate in a Teacher Academy at West Johnston High School from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  A second session for secondary teachers is scheduled for August 7, 8, and 9.

Set to a military theme and entitled EQuIP (Everyday Quality Instructional Practices),  the purpose of the conference will be to share innovative best practices for engaging students and to provide opportunities for teachers to network with each other and share. Administrators and central office staff are also invited to participate.

This three-day professional growth experience is designed to strengthen the “Core” by equipping teachers with research-based strategies, stated Stephanie Leonard,  Director of LEA Curriculum Projects. More than 100 workshop sessions will be offered.

“We will highlight innovative practices to use with their students and make the curriculum exciting and relevant,” said Leonard. “Teachers will have the opportunity to network with colleagues across the district and plan how to embed these practices into their instruction before the school year starts. Sessions will focus on Instruction, Curriculum, Environment, and Data – which are the components for a strong instructional foundation.”

While preparing for the next school year,  long-term planning is also taking place.  Dr. Ross Renfrow, who took the helm as Superintendent in March 2016, has established a JoCo 2020 vision based on three tenets: relationships, relevance, and innovation. All district activity will be centered around these responsibilities to our students.  Renfrow will be the keynote speaker for each of the academies.

More about EQuIP’s offerings:

Highlights include a special visit from a Marine concert band.  The local National Guard has also partnered with Johnston County Public Schools and will be providing special events  between sessions for participants.

Highly qualified presenters include JCPS school and central staff, UNC World View staff, DPI presenters, NC State and ECU professors, as well as Science, Math & Technology (SMT) Center guest presenters.  In addition, nationally recognized presenters, Kim Bearden and Dave Burgess, have also been confirmed to present and share their inspiring journeys at EQuIP.

The elementary session will feature Kim Bearden who is the cofounder, executive director, and language arts teacher at the highly-acclaimed Ron Clark Academy, an innovative middle school and educator training facility in Atlanta. Over the past nine years, more than 36,000 educators from around the world have visited Bearden’s classroom at the Academy and have attended her workshops to learn better ways to engage students, promote academic rigor, and create a climate and culture that promotes success. Bearded was recently honored at the White House for being inducted into to the National Teachers Hall of Fame. She was selected from over 70,000 nominations to be honored as the Disney American Teacher Awards Outstanding Middle School Humanities Teacher. The Milken Family Foundation selected her to receive the Award for Excellence in Education, and she was the chosen from among 7000 teachers as Teacher of the Year in Cobb County, Georgia. Women Works Media Group has named her one of Georgia’s Most Powerful and Influential Women. Over the past twenty-nine years, she has been a teacher, instructional lead teacher, curriculum director, school board member, staff development trainer, and middle school principal. Her book, Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me, made several bestseller lists, the LA Times Bestseller List being among them.

Dave Burgess is the featured presenter for the secondary session.  Burgess is the New York Times best-selling author of Teach Like a Pirate and co-author of P is for Pirate. He is a highly sought after keynote speaker well known for his outrageously energetic performance style and inspirational, yet practical, message. Burgess is also the president of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., a disruptive publishing company specializing in innovative, creative books and professional development programs designed to transform education and uplift educators to reach their full potential.