07/28/11 — County schools are planning for teacher classes

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County schools are planning for teacher classes

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 28, 2011 12:01 PM

MOUNTOLIVE -- Before the first day of classes even rolls around, the school system is already contemplating graduation.

But not the ceremony itself -- educators are being primed to better prepare children for the finish line.

The theme for Wayne County Public Schools' sixth annual Summer Institute next week is "Educate and Graduate!" From Tuesday through Thursday, an estimated 85 sessions will be held on the Mount Olive College campus.

The conference is free and open to parents as well as teachers.

Teachers and administrators will present staff development workshops on such topics as content areas including reading and writing, exceptional children, legal issues, English as a Second Language, family engagement, technology and academically intellectually gifted students.

Vendors of educational products will also be on hand Thursday, and there will be an array of materials available throughout, said Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

"The theme is early education leads to graduation," she said. "We'll have information on what every child needs to learn by grade level ... safety in the classroom, personalized education, resources available in the community."

The event is open to anyone in the community interested in public education, said Kim Copeland, lead literacy teacher with the district and coordinator of the conference.

"We have Wednesday specifically as a parent day," she said. "We're really excited. We gear up for this and start planning about six months ahead.

"We just really start the year out with a bang. We're eager and excited to motivate the stakeholders, primarily our teachers and educators."

The week actually starts out with a pre-conference Monday, focusing on early childhood education.

"We have guest speakers, including the Southeast Region Teacher of the Year, from Carteret County, Callie Smith, a first-grade teacher, will be keynote speaker," said Gail Herring, director of elementary education for the district. "We'll have a panel of early childhood educators to discuss the changes in the preschool program."

The Wee Wings preschool bus will be on site for tours, she added.

"We'll also have some agencies that support our young children" and representatives to talk about the services, she said, noting, "It's not just for teachers and educators, it's for the whole community. Parents can benefit from it."

The annual event has been held at Mount Olive College, primarily at Raper Hall. Lunch is also served for a nominal fee, so participants don't even have to leave campus, Ms. Copeland said.

"We just have four full days jam-packed with all the personal development you could ask for," she said.

Kicking off the conference Tuesday will be Lisa Tart, principal at Grantham School, recently named Southeast Region Principal of the Year, as keynote speaker.

The event will run from 9 a.m. until 2:15 p.m. Monday; Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.; and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2:45 p.m.

Registration is free and can be done in advance online, at www.waynecountyschools.org, or the day of the event.

"Even if they haven't registered online, they can come that day or any time during the day that's convenient" and sit in on a session or two, Mrs. Herring said.

Further information can be found at the district's website or by contacting Ms. Copeland at 705-6108 or kimcopeland@wcps.org.