The ESU 4 Engaging Educators Conference was held Monday, Feb. 19 at Johnson County Central Middle School (Cook site). This is the first time that ESU 4 has hosted the conference in 7 or 8 years, and our team decided to bring back the conference based on the feedback and requests that we received from administrators in our area schools. I am proud to say that this year's conference was a great success, and that is due largely to all of the talented and dedicated colleagues on the ESU 4 team. It is also largely due to all of the incredible presenters who came to share their time and talents at our conference. Below are some of the highlights of the day.
1. 5 full school districts from our ESU 4 area schools attended the conference, and a handful of teachers from a couple of other schools in the ESU 4 area also attended. Next year, we expect the conference to grow, as more school districts will be attending the conference.
2. Technology, when used purposefully, can streamline your workflow and help you operate more efficiently. We created a Conference Website that included a Twitter Feed and official conference hashtag #ESU4EE18. The website also included the use of Sched for the conference schedule. Sched comes with many helpful features, such as session descriptions and pictures of the presenters, and the ability for conference attendees to click on the sessions they plan to attend and build their own personal schedule prior to the conference. Sched is mobile-friendly, so it can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and from any device! Below is the Twitter Feed from #ESU4EE18
3. We had incredible presenters from a variety of educational roles and backgrounds. These included content specialists at the Nebraska Department of Education, Professional Development Coordinators from other ESU's, content specialists from Peru State College, and more. We even featured a session where Tim Huls (Principal at Hampton High School) brought some of his students, and co-presented with Taylor Siebert on Class Intercom.
4. Josh Erickson from Team Concepts delivered an inspiring keynote that addressed teacher engagement. He referenced Gallup Studies that were conducted over long periods of time, and the conclusion was that the #1 predictor of success in schools is teacher engagement. That is significant because as educators, we are always concerned with student engagement, but schools that have a high percentage of teacher engagement have a more positive culture and are helping their students be successful.
5. Many thank-you's are due to Marcus Scheer (Technology Coordinator at JCC), Rich Bacon (Principal at JCC Middle School), and all of the JCC faculty and staff for their hard work, as this conference could not have been successful without them.
The 2018 ESU 4 Engaging Educators Conference was a great success, and I am excited to see how this conference evolves and grows in future years. We hope to see you all next year--mark your calendars, as the conference will be Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 (location TBA)!
Ben is the Technology Integration Specialist at ESU 4 in Auburn, NE. He is also a Google for Education Certified Trainer.