Educators Launch ’22 ADE Summit at Convention Center


The Arkansas Department of Education kicked off its annual summit Monday at the Hot Springs Convention Center for the fourth consecutive year, providing educators across the state with a one-stop-shop for professional development.

The summit, which runs through Wednesday, combines several smaller educational meetings regarding IT, dyslexia, data, school health and more into one event, where attendees have the opportunity to walk through workshops , network and hear from nationally recognized speakers. .

“The summit is a combination of about 10 different smaller conferences,” said Daniel Collier, ADE’s technology projects coordinator. “Now we can all come at a time of year and be in one place together and make it easier for educators to get all the professional development they need in one week and in one place.

“So all the different facets and agencies within the Department of Education – the school for the deaf, the school for the blind, the state library, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Division of Higher Education and CTE are all participating and offering summit sessions,” he said.

Over the three days, around 250 sessions with more than 300 presenters will have taken place, Collier said.

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“We take it upon ourselves as a department to try to provide high quality national speakers and bring the best of the best here to Hot Springs – all for $50. So we’ve made it pretty easy for districts to send their staff and teachers to receive high quality training,” he said.

ADE continues to use a hybrid model for the summit this year due to COVID-19 concerns. He said between in-person and virtual attendees, around 2,000 people would attend. Although there is no specific theme, he said the department is making it a priority to give educators more flexibility.

“A lot of our schools, whether they are more rural or smaller, their staff wear many hats,” he said. “And so they had to, in the past, have to attend multiple conferences to get the information they needed. Now hopefully we’ve made it a little bit easier for them.”

Gina Lockwood, ADE’s Chief Operating Officer, said ADE maintains a strong focus on teaching and instruction, as well as research-based best practices, while addressing hot topics. such as school safety, social-emotional learning and instructional leadership.

“This event is designed for anyone associated with education,” she said. “We anticipate teachers, administrators, child nutrition staff, financial support, transportation and facilities. There is something for everyone at the summit. We will be offering a keynote speaker each morning as well as multiple sessions in small groups on various themes and topics. There will also be a special awards event for educators who have been recognized for their achievements.”

David Naster kicked off the keynote presentations on Monday morning with his “Just Laugh” message about how humor makes tough times better. Podcaster and host, Naster teaches that when stress and trauma arise, humor and laughter lower their intensities. He demonstrated it this Monday by sharing true stories and encounters that make you laugh.

Former Executive Director of Professional Development for the DeKalb County School System in Decatur, Georgia, Marcia L. Tate, will follow today at 8:30 a.m. She will provide insight into her 30-year career with the district, where she served as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, language arts coordinator and executive director of staff development.

Last year’s Arkansas Teacher of the Year, Susanna Post, will wrap up the keynote on Wednesday, also at 8:30 a.m., in which she will talk about her experience teaching math classes and of commerce in grades seven through 12 at Belle Pointe, the high school alternative school in Fort Smith.

Lockwood noted that as a non-traditional educator, Post attributes much of her success in the classroom to her 12 years of business experience, which she says led her to favor project-based learning. .

“She believes that relationships drive student success and strives to connect students to content in meaningful ways,” she said. “That passion led her to create her current platform as Teacher of the Year, Closing the Empathy Gap.”

Daniel Collier, technology projects coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Education, discusses this year’s summit Monday outside the Hot Springs Convention Center. – Photo by Daniel Cross of The Sentinel-Record

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