TCSS summer conference brings more than 500 teachers together

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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On Monday, over 500 teachers from the Troup County School System gathered at Troup High School for TCSS’s Summer Learning Conference.

During the three-day conference, educators collaborated with one another and learned new tips and tricks for the upcoming school year.

Rebekah Ralph, specialist for teacher effectiveness, said the conference exposes educators to different instructional strategies.

“All of our teachers at the summer learning conference will have tools to take back into the classroom to help get their students more engaged in the content, get them talking and thinking more,” Ralph said.

“After our three main sessions, we have breakout groups and collaborative time for teachers to get together, dive deeper into the curriculum maps and pacing guides and have time to talk through some of our district initiatives and make sure that everyone’s on the same page. We want to make sure that all of our kids in Troup, County have access to the best, high-quality education in all of our schools.”

Ralph said she hopes the teachers take home the value of their position in a student’s life.

“We have a lot of teachers here, some of them teaching for a long time in Troup County and some of them are brand new. We want them to understand that they’re the ones that have the ability to make the magic happen inside the classroom. They’re in the classroom with their students every day and what they do collaboratively with each other is going to be what impacts the students the most,” Ralph said.

“We want them to build some connections here both formally and informally. We want to be able to go back into their schools and really put the PLC model into action and use what they’re gaining from their observations of their students and teaching, to meet students where they are and move them to the next level.”

During the conference, many teachers had the chance to lead a session.

Shantivria Wilkinson, intervention specialist at Franklin Forest Elementary, said taking the lead in a session was a new experience.

“I’ve had an opportunity to speak before in front of different colleagues, but this was a new dynamic because these are teachers from all over our district. Getting to collaborate with them and hear some of their positives and different ways that we can grow in our district has been valuable,” Wilkinson said.

“There were a variety of interesting points that we do well in our district and things that we can grow on. I loved that the teachers are eager, wanting more support and are willing to modify and learn and make themselves better so that we can benefit our students.”

Misty Parrish, a teacher on special assignment (TOSA) for Ethel Kight Elementary School, said collaborating with educators from around TCSS was a positive experience.

“Getting our teachers to collaborate across in their own grade levels but also across their subjects has been something we’re really going to push this year,” Parrish said. “We want to make sure that they can talk more, learning from each other, really looking at their curriculum and what they’re supposed to be teaching and what’s the best way to teach it.”

Ralph said she’s only received positive feedback about the conference.

“I’ve heard a lot of positive things from the teachers. They’re excited that they get an opportunity to get together and collaborate and a lot of them are excited to continue this collaboration beyond the Summer Learning Conference,” Ralph said. “We’re just excited that we can offer the opportunity for the teachers because they’re the ones who are in the classrooms every day, working with the students and making this all possible.”