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Thursday, March 10, 2016

What Does it Mean to "Celebrate and Elevate" Effective Teachers and Teaching?

Learn more about ECET2 via this link.
Thanks to my work and share with Meenoo Rami, a current Gates Fellow, I was invited to attend ECET2, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,  in San Diego this past January. ECET2 is the acronym for "Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching."

At the three-day conference, I definitely was elevated and celebrated. The 400-teachers at the event stayed at a beautiful San Diego hotel. We were treated to wonderful meals, entertainment by local students, terrific keynote speakers, inspiring breakout sessions, and a chance to problem solve with colleagues from across the country. The event definitely filled me with confidence to move forward professionally and to share that same spirit of celebration and elevation with my colleagues both where I teach and also the colleagues I share with via my Professional Learning Network (PLN).

As I think about ways to celebrate and elevate, I must say it was nice to be given the chance to learn and share with educators in a beautiful place.

Equally wonderful was the chance to engage in good problem solving process with educators from a range of experiences and geographic locations.

Further I had the chance to choose a couple of breakout sessions that matched my interests, and the keynotes were very inspiring.

As I think about the potential of planning a similar event in Massachusetts, I wonder about a venue that will inspire Massachusetts' educators.

I'm thinking about who will come and how to send invitations. What teachers would want to spend a Saturday sharing best practices with regard to teaching all children well? How do we encourage those in the field who are teaching with strength to share their story and efforts?

What keynote speakers will lead us well with regard to teaching all students? Who has studied this and actually put new ideas to work to make a difference with students?

What student groups would be willing to share their talent with us? Are there teacher candidates who are eager to help out and learn in this setting.

And after a day like this, how do we keep the conversation going? In what ways will we inspire one another to grow our PLN's with new contacts, ideas, and effort?

I have been to many education events that differ in many ways. There are the pointed presentations by experts in the field. There are wonderful edcamps where dedicated teachers share their craft in informal, yet very effective ways. Educon's creative three-day structure is always a terrific place to learn and meet dedicated educators. And, there are the big conferences that typically have a lot of educators who have authored books and lead successful initiatives.

ECET2 is its own genre when it comes to the palette of educational conferences and events, and I'm thinking about what's unique and special about this genre when it comes to inspiring all of us to teach children well. If you want to add your thoughts, please do. I'm looking forward to thinking about this more in the days ahead.