CSUEB Education Summit

CSUEB Education Summit

Alex Boucher ,

California teachers from universities, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools came together for the 2015 California Teacher’s Summit on July 31 at Cal State East Bay.

The Education Summit — dubbed “Better Together: California Teachers Summit”— took place simultaneously at 33 college campuses across California from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This was the first Education Summit organized by the New Teacher Center, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities and California State University. It was designed to bring together K-12 teachers to exchange ideas for the classroom.

“This is a historical event for California Educators because it provides an innovative format in which they can learn and network with each other in substantive ways,” said Dean of the College of Education and Allied Studies Carolyn Nelson in a press statement. “It is also the first time in which such a group of diverse partners have come together to plan this unprecedented statewide event using a format that illustrates how important our work is and that we are ‘better together’”.

Utilizing teleconference and online streams, this one-day only summit linked together thousands of attendees at multiple college campuses. The two main keynote speakers, actress Yvette Nicole Brown and NASA astronaut Leland Melvin were live streamed to each location at the beginning of the event.

Keynote speakers were chosen because of their work in the education field. Brown recently partnered with Stephen Colbert on an initiative to fund different education projects in South Carolina.  Melvin has served as the co-chair of the White House task force charged with creating the nation’s five-year STEM education plan.

The event also featured speakers specific to each campus. Nicholas Zefeldt, an instructional coach from San Ramon Valley Unified School District and East Bay alumnus gave a 20-minute “Ed-Talk,” a TED Talk speech format, to over 500 educators.

“There is no better time than right now to be [an] educator in the state of California,” said Zefeldt as his audience broke out in laughter. “Because the core standards and NGSS gives us the opportunity to make thoughtful decision about how [to] engage our students in ways that will actually prepare them for life, their careers and their college experiences in the 21st century.”

His speech touched on three stories of how as a teacher he had to embrace the challenges that come along with implementing new curriculum, adhering to Common Core or NGSS, and the difficulties of working with children.

“We have to have the realization that we will we stumble,” Zefeldt said during his Ed-Talk at the summit. “For a lot of us, it will feel like the first year of teaching all over again, but we have to realize that there isn’t a single person in this room that has be perfect on their first time. We will stumble, and that’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes and when we do swallow it we have the license to view those stumbles as evidence of engagement, evidence of learning and an opportunity to grow from where you are at right now.”

Besides listening to Ed-Talks and keynote speakers, educators were encouraged to network and engage with others at the event. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson explained that this summit gave teachers the benefit of being able to talk to fellow teachers about what works and what doesn’t in their classroom.

“This event gives teachers a chance to grow professionally by allowing them to share their ideas, ingenuity, passion, and best practices,” Torlakson said in a press statement. “It can help teachers make an even bigger difference in the lives of California students.”

Editor-in-Chief Shannon Stroud contributed to this article.