On January 7th, 1,305 MUSD Educators united, amid the cold, fog and early call time, for the largest professional development conference of the year.
Hosted entirely in-house through the District’s Professional Development department, EdCon 2020 gathered educators across the District for a day of tailored collaboration and inspiration focused wholly on student needs.
The conference opened with a message from Superintendent Dr. Clark Burke. “Our mission for the second half of the year remains focused on meeting the needs of students through meaningful interaction and support for students to feel safe, find their unique path, and achieve mastery of grade level standards. Why are we here?” Burke asked. “We are here to consistently provide students with an environment that promotes learning, achievement, and individual success.”
Burke challenged the audience of educators by asking them to consider two questions: Did my students meet or exceed state standards? And, how do I know?
Keynote speaker Kathy Bumgardner took the stage next. Conversations dove quickly into core curriculum and how to use embedded resources, build rigor, depth, and complexity. Bumgardner is a national literacy coach and tool creator specializing in K-12 education.
“The best part of teaching is that it matters,” said Bumgardner. “The hardest part of teaching is that every moment matters, every day.”
Bumgardner continued, “Today we are going to reflect. All day long, we are going to reflect on our teaching because it is about becoming the best “success makers” we can be.”
This year, MUSD EdCon offered over 120 K-12 learning sessions, 12 guest speakers, and 55 internal speakers/educators who facilitated their own learning session on subjects they find individually successful in the classroom. High school educators collaborated by department.
Julie Jenkins, Director of Professional Learning, has played a significant role in EdCon since its launch in 2015. This year, she commented, “EdCon 2020 was unique because it focused specifically on our District target grade level standards and supporting the use of all content base curriculums.”
While EdCon serves to develop, inspire and unite educators to remain focused on the District’s vision, mission and targets, it also strives to meet each educators’ individual needs.
“It has been noted by outside presenters and our curriculum/program partners that MUSD’s EdCon is the most organized and detailed professional development event they have ever taken part in,” shared Jenkins. “Based on the size of our District and number of certificated staff, EdCon is the largest conference style event around in the area. We typically have visitors from other districts drop in!”
After each EdCon, Jenkins surveys the educators who participated to continue to refine the professional development opportunities.
In this year’s survey, over 80% of educators agreed or strongly agreed that the base curriculum sessions offered, enhanced their knowledge and helped them to differentiate instruction to meet student needs in the classroom.
One educator commented, “I loved what we did for EdCon this year! I was grateful to have Big Ideas Math come to teach us more about the curriculum. It was very useful to have time during the afternoon to collaborate with my colleagues and implement what I learned.”
Another educator shared, “I enjoyed collaborating with other teachers in the same content area.”
Overall, the sixth year of EdCon survey feedback from participating educators seems to suggest it is an experience they value.