Teachers Teaching Teachers (and More)

Manteca Unified's EdCon a day when educators hone their skills

Lathrop High School's students had the day off on a recent Friday, but the campus was still bustling as more than 1,000 educators spent the day honing their craft at the Manteca Unified School District Educators Conference.

“This is a day where teachers are leading teachers in professional learning based on practices that support student achievement,” MUSD Superintendent Dr. Clark Burke said. “The energy is visible as teachers collaborate and develop strategies and practices to facilitate learning while aligning to state standards.”

The MUSD EdCon, as it is more commonly referred to, is in its fifth year. The all-day staff-development day on Nov. 2 offered dozens about 240 workshops and speaker sessions conducted by both colleagues and experts from outside the district.

“EdCon is a peer-led day of teacher choice, an opportunity to hear from leading professionals in education, and for our teachers to lead one another in professional development,” said Julie Jenkins, director of professional learning.

In one corner of EdCon, experts from non-profit Common Sense Education conducted a series of talks and workshops about a landscaped changed by technology like social media.  Topics included how educators can help protect students online to how to integrate social media into instruction.

"Social media is such a big part of our kids' lives, that if we ban it, we're not teaching them to use it safely," said Steve Garton, the author and speaker from the nonprofit. Schools can help provide students tools, they said. "They'll have the tools to navigate that space safely."

The teachers attending Garton's session were joined by a group of students, who added the student perspective to the discussion during the workshop. The students had been presenters, themselves, earlier in the day.

Teachers really listened, said Maria, a Lathrop High senior who was part of a team of students who also gave a presentation about social media. "They wanted to see our perspective, and they really took in our point of view."

Maria and some of her fellow students went to EdCon sessions with Jennifer Myers, who teaches career technical classes for LHS and is a lead teacher on behalf of LHS for MUSD’s Advantage: Future Teacher Pathway Program, an effort to jump start high school students on their journey to becoming credentialed teachers.

There is a lot to choose from at the conference, Myers said.

"I enjoy EdCon. It's nice to see what other teachers are doing that is successful for them."

Posted: 11/21/2018