By TRAVIS MORSE email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — Implementing the new Illinois Common Core Standards will be one of the key topics at the upcoming 34th Annual Mt. Vernon Conference, said Conference Coordinator Angie Mills.
The two-day educational in-service is expected to draw over 1,500 educators from across the state. It will be held Oct. 24 and 25 at Mt. Vernon Township High School.
The Common Core Standards establish new requirements for student learning in English language arts and math, and will be a dominant theme of many of the conference workshops. Evaluation systems and technology will also be main topics.
“Most sessions either focus on or are directly giving instruction on the Common Core Standards,” Mills said of the conference. “It's a heavy topic.”
The conference is sponsored by Ron Daniels, Regional Superintendent of Schools of Hamilton-Jefferson Counties, along with two other regional superintendents: Keri Garrett of Clinton, Marion, and Washington Counties; and Matt Donkin of Franklin and Williamson Counties.
Illinois Computing Educators and Rend Lake College are also major sponsors.
As in year's past, this year's conference will feature a variety of instructional workshops in one-hour and two-hour blocks.
Presenter Ann Garrett will conduct sessions on Common Core literacy and how educators can incorporate writing into every-day instruction.
The importance of writing to the new standards cannot be over-stated, she said.
“Everything has to align with the Common Core,” Garrett said. “I think (the conference) is very beneficial. They do a good job of providing topics for everyone. During the sessions, people interact, share ideas, and come away with things they can use in class.”
Garrett is a part-time librarian at MVTHS and a senior lecturer at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
She said she is excited about the Common Core Standards and how they encourage students to be more creative.
“It's asking students to perform at a much higher level,” Garrett said. “As a result, they are more engaged in their learning.”
The Mt. Vernon Conference will also feature several all-day sessions, including an Administrator Academy Oct. 24. This workshop, facilitated by Meg Ormiston, is entitled “Future of Leadership — Technology and the School Leader.”
The other all-day workshops cover the following topics: the “Charlotte Danielson Framework,” academic coaching, technology-based instruction, and close reading.
Also, the second day of the conference, Oct. 25, will include a performance at 8 a.m. by the MVTHS Pep Band, as well as a student performance of the National Anthem at 8:25 a.m.
Shortly after the anthem, Stephen Peters, CEO of The Peters Group from Orangeburg, S.C., will deliver a keynote address and then host an educational session.
He has over 32 years of experience in education, having worked as a classroom teacher, an assistant principal, a principal, and a director of secondary education, states the conference program.
Peters is also the founder of the Gentlemen's & Ladies Club programs, which provide options for at-risk and honor students across the country, the program states. His latest book is “Choosing to Believe: Creating a Framework for School Success.”
The conference, Mills said, gives educators the chance to increase their knowledge and earn continuing professional development units so they can renew their teaching credentials.
“We try to focus the conference on what teachers need to have, more so than what they want to have,” Mills said. “So we try to have presenters that will fill those needs. But there are a few fun things, too.”
Educators can register for the conference beforehand or on the days of the event, Mills said. Registration takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 24, and from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 25.
The conference program can be downloaded from www.roe25.com.
For more information on registration fees and the conference, consult the program or call 244-8040.