Posted on 2/2/14

dcps3 300OWENSBORO, Ky. (2/27/14) – Three Daviess County Public Schools educators recently participated in the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers conference in Lexington, sponsored by The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky.

Jana Bryant, who serves the district as math staff developer; Heidi Givens, itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing; and Michelle Ruckdeschel, who teaches mathematics at Beacon Central High School, attended the Jan. 25 event dedicated to honoring and celebrating teacher leaders across Kentucky.

The event provided an opportunity to share and learn from colleagues, get connected to resources, and enhance inspiration for the teaching profession.

The program was also designed to help teachers become more effective leaders in the classroom and beyond, and to support the kinds of instructional shifts needed to achieve Common Core State Standards.

DCPS Superintendent Owens Saylor said, “We are so proud of the work of our teachers and the leadership they demonstrate, in and out of the classroom. Teaching has become an incredibly complex job and we must have leaders like these willing to step forward and share their ability and expertise on behalf of improving our profession.”

Bryant, Givens and Ruckdeschel were among educators who attended and facilitated breakout sessions and engaged in conversations as part of “colleague circles,” small groups of educators coming together to discuss topics relevant to their profession.

Breakout sessions were focused on exploring opportunities for advocacy, improve practices through collaboration, identifying key strategies to transform teacher leadership, sharing personal journeys and talking about college and career readiness.

Bryant, who is a Hope Street Group Kentucky Teaching Fellow, said, “Teachers must elevate and celebrate our profession. Every student deserves a highly effective teacher. This conference highlighted how important it is to create and to redefine teacher leadership positions within our schools. We have to be a voice for our students and our schools to help guide our policy-makers.”

“Participation in this event helped me to better define what a teacher leader is, and that all teachers have leadership capabilities,” said Givens, who was the 2013 Kentucky Elementary Teacher of the Year." "I learned strategies for promoting teacher voice in order to advocate for high quality education. I will be able to better guide parents and educators of students who are deaf and hard of hearing on how to have their voices heard for equal access to instruction and implementation of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System.”

Ruckdeschel, who was honored as the 2013-14 DCPS Great Expectations Teaching Excellence/High School Teacher of the Year, said she benefited from positive and energetic collaboration with other teachers.

“It was inspiring and fun to see the creativity and knowledge embodied within those individuals,” she said. “As a classroom teacher, I gained knowledge of several different technology apps to utilize for my students; great ideas that could make me more efficient; and some innovative practices I can lead within my school to benefit the staff and student body. The conversations with other leaders were priceless.”

DCPS Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Julie Clark was supportive of the educators’ attendance at this event. “I am so pleased that Jana, Heidi and Michelle were able to participate in the ECET2 KY conference. These teachers have a great deal of expertise to share with others and always welcome the opportunity to continue their own professional learning.”

“This conference provided outlets for both – a win/win!”

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