Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Governor's Education Summit

Gov. Snyder was present and active throughout the entire conference.  
         I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Governor’s Education Summit, a conference held in East Lansing yesterday. I was unaware that this conference even existed, until a month ago when I was attending the MACUL Conference.  The documentary, Look I’m Learning, was a part of the conference, and my classroom was a part of the film, focusing on BYOD in elementary classrooms.  Bruce Umpstead, the Director of Educational Technology, is the Executive Producer for the film, and he invited me to join the Summit. 
            I have to be honest, I had my doubts prior to attending the conference.  The agenda was sent out a few days before, however we did get an email to review the Economic Summit’s Report from the March conference a couple of weeks before.  I was a bit surprised to see that a panel on the importance of Early Childhood Education lacked an Early Childhood teacher or even a preschool director.  It did include many prominent people, but I was a bit offended that they wouldn't have invited someone that worked on the front lines.
            The conference ended up being a motivating and inspiring event.  It blended business, non-profit, University, and K-12 Educational leaders together, and we had fabulous discussions on the strengths and challenges we have in our education systems around the state.  It was wonderful to be in groups that were so diverse.  From a Deputy Superintendent from Wayne-Westland to the Chief Learning Officer for the Henry Ford, we were able to be on the same page.  Throughout the conference, it was nice to hear different perspectives on education, whether it be from a teacher in another district or the President of a bank.   

The conference was set up to allow for collaboration.  After the morning keynote we broke up into regional groups.  We discussed the strengths, challenges, and opportunities in our region.  It was difficult to be on the same page, as our region included Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb.  The challenges that I have in Walled Lake are vastly different than the challenges I learned about in Detroit and Southgate.  Even though, it was great to get different viewpoints. In the end, we shared our ideas and created a regional chart.  Our conversations were eventually shared at the closing keynote panel, with representatives from all of the regions.

The Strengths and Challenges of Region 10

We enjoyed a sit down lunch, and again, I enjoyed hearing different perspectives.  I sat with 2 men that represented Christian School Leadership, a Director of Membership in the Detroit Area Health Council, and  2 men from the city of Grand Rapids, one of which I found out graduated from Oxford High School…9 years after I did.  I enjoyed catching up with him on some of the teachers we shared and how his experiences compared. 

With so much to share, I decided to break up this entry into two parts!  I hope you will look forward to reading Part 2, where I discuss my thoughts of Governor Snyder, Early Childhood Education, and 2 other Oxford High School connections that also attended the conference!  

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