By all acounts, the Columbia County school system’s summer learning conference at Grovetown High School was a success.
With the new school year opening on Wednesday, Aug. 6, over 2,000 teachers registered for the weeklong conference dubbed Pirates’ Assembly in honor of Friday’s keynote speaker Dave Burgess, the author of Teach Like a Pirate.
County teachers and administrators led the workshops that lasted from an hour to over two hours.
“This is the first summer academy for teachers in Columbia County,” said Bobbie Stapleton, Columbia County professional learning specialist. “The teachers appreciate the time set aside for them. They thought the topics for sessions were worthwhile and the feedback has been positive.”
Some topics were creatively named to fit the week, ones such as: “Finding Buried Treasure in the Gifted Students” and “Technology Treasure Trove: Arr ye Tech Savvy?
In one classroom Wednesday, Harlem Middle School principal Carla Shelton led a session entitled “Creating Magic in the Classroom.” For over two hours, Shelton, Harlem Middle School teachers Bill Tankersly, Mona Morris and Georgia Regents University Instructional Resource Center manager Jennifer Armstrong talked about strategies, ways to use technology, initiated discussion on various topics and led a final group exercise. In the end, all the discussion came back to ways of positively engaging students.
“It’s the ultimate professional learning experience,” Shelton said, whose classroom was filled with teachers from the elementary school- to high-school level. “We’re bringing practicioners together to share ideas because we want to make sure we’re preparing our kids for the 21st century.”
Although teaching while away from the Columbia County school system for 10 years, Grovetown Middle School seventh-grade math teacher Lorena Smith thought Shelton’s seminar was interesting and she got a lot from the Pirates’ Assembly.
“The week was enlightening,” said Smith. “It put a fire under me about going back to school.”