Teaching credential student Bailee Hobbs was just one of the approximately 300 participants at the Better Together: California Teachers Summit, held Friday at California State University, Stanislaus.
"This is a great chance to learn about what I'm trying to accomplish and become," said Hobbs. "It also reminds all of us that we're on the same team and that we have to work together. None of us are doing this alone."
CSU Stanislaus was just one of 33 locations throughout the state hosting more than 14,500 teachers, teacher candidates and school administrators for the first-of-its kind event that was designed to help participants build a powerful network of peers, share best practices and access effective resources to implement the new California Standards.
Throughout the daylong summit-which came to fruition through a partnership with the university, New Teacher Center, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and the California State University-teachers learned concrete tools and strategies, as well as built a network of colleagues from their home region to support future collaboration.
Hobbs said that she is already looking forward to future collaboration with other teachers to discuss what practices worked and what practices haven't worked in order to improve her teaching methods upon completion of the credential program.
Margie Fast from Modesto City Schools also attended the summit on Friday to learn about how to make her first year teaching second grade at Franklin Elementary School successful.
"I am gaining insight and advice from seasoned teachers," said Fast. "This event has given me some new knowledge that I will definitely apply in the classroom."
Additionally, the event taught Fast the importance of making connections with the families of students and with the students themselves.
The emphasis on connections proved to be a common theme during Friday's summit, as Stockton Unified School District's Chavez High School biology teacher Rob Lebard discovered the advantages of connecting with and incorporating guest speakers in his classroom.
"I would have never thought to get more guest speakers in the classroom," said Lebard. "Now I want to look into the community and find someone to talk about, for example, cellular structure and functions.
"I need to find someone who has firsthand experience in the subject at hand and have them come into my classroom for a short time to help students understand what is being taught," continued Lebard.
Lebard decided to attend the summit after he felt there was a real lack of teachers sharing good practices among each other within the school system. One practice that he learned from other teachers on Friday was the utility of incorporating various websites in the classroom.
"I am looking forward to using some of the websites other teachers are using to increase technology use in the classroom," said Lebard. "These websites will help students find what they need to find and help me keep track of student learning."
During the event, participants at the university watched a televised address from nationally renowned keynote speakers Yvette Nicole Brown, who is an actress and teacher advocate, and Leland Melvin, NASA astronaut and STEM education pioneer.
Oddmund Myhre, Dean of the College of Education, Kinesiology and Social Work, felt that these speeches, as well as other addresses from himself, CSU Stanislaus President Joseph F. Sheley and Coordinator of Teacher Recruitment and Retention Tara Ribeiro, provided inspiration to teachers and teacher candidates during the summit.
"The idea, of course, is to inspire people to learn from each other and help them access effective resources," said Myhre.
Throughout the day, teachers also listened to various Ed Talks, which offered funny, inspiring and poignant perspectives from teachers about their successes with implementation of the California Standards and engaged in breakout sessions led by teachers on cutting-edge strategies that are working in classrooms across the state.
For more information on Better Together: California Teachers Summit, visit cateacherssummit.com.