Tools for Schools, April/May 2005, Vol. 8, No. 5
Cultivating your own expertise: Starkville demonstrates how a homegrown conference can build leadership
By Joan Richardson
Janet Henderson remembers the first meeting vividly: a cluster of teachers who had been inspired by attending national conferences sat down in the hallway of Starkville High School to brainstorm how they could share their experiences with others.
Personal inventory of knowledge and skills
Circulate this form to teachers. This will encourage them to think about what they know and can share with their colleagues. The information that you collect will also inform the planning team about the expertise teachers already possess and could share with others.
Worksheet for learning goals
Ask each teacher who wants to attend your conference to provide this information when they register. This will indicate to the teachers that you expect them to think deeply in advance about what they will learn during your conference and it will signal them that you want them to base their learning on the needs of their students (Column 3).
Create a proposal form for teachers or principals interested in presenting at your conference. Using this form will help you develop a plan for your own conference as well as help potential presenters think through how they would design their sessions.
After the workshop
This activity catches participants off guard and encourages them to think about what they will need to do to use what they have learned in the workshop.