Demand high for OSDE professional development conference, EngageOK; registrations top records

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 24, 2018) – An unprecedented number of registrations for the EngageOK summer professional development conference proves the seven-site road show format is meeting a strong need of teachers, said officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE).

“Heading into a new school year, we have delivered resources and training in high demand for teachers across the state. The teacher pay raise was a significant first step, but without question, teachers want to start the year well-equipped to meet the needs of their students, too. Connecting with teachers closer to their own homes and schools has been our top priority this summer with EngageOK.”

The one-day conferences took place July 9-19 at seven high schools around the state: Ada, Owasso, Bartlesville, Norman North, Durant, Duncan and Woodward. A total of 7,155 educators registered for all sites, exceeding 2017’s previous total of 7,000 Oklahoma teachers, administrators and school professionals. The cost savings for hosting the conference in a road show format are significant – an estimated $350,000 a year less than in years when the conference spanned multiple days in Oklahoma City.

Dr. Amy Fichtner, Superintendent of Owasso Public Schools, noted the variety and quality of sessions.

“This partnership between the OSDE and local districts is exactly what is needed to take us to the next level of teaching and learning. Feedback in the hallways indicated how relevant the sessions were for attendees. Most were standing-room-only, and the OSDE even duplicated some sessions at the last minute to meet the needs of attendees.”

Among the most in-demand sessions were those related to how to reach high-need students on topics like trauma-informed instruction, school improvement, teaching economically disadvantaged students and culturally responsive instruction. Other popular sessions were devoted to integrating STEM in the elementary classroom, classroom management and the ever-popular What Students Wish Their Teachers Knew.

Moderated by Hofmeister and featuring a panel of local students, the conversation included advice for first-year teachers, how class sizes affect classroom instruction, how to keep students engaged, what makes a teacher effective and the importance of building a classroom culture of trust and respect.

Among the benefits of the regional road show format are easy access for educators, who are spared the need to pay for overnight accommodations or spend hours driving to Oklahoma City.

Woodward High School superintendent Kyle Reynolds said EngageOK was a big hit in his northwestern Oklahoma community.

“Opportunities for high-quality staff development that don’t require two to four hours travel time for us are rare, and that is exactly what hundreds in our area were able to take advantage of this year,” said Reynolds. “I was able to visit with folks from the far end of the Oklahoma panhandle and all parts of northwestern Oklahoma, and they all were grateful for the opportunity.”

View the photos from EngageOK on the Road.

PHOTOS: Educators in Owasso participate in one of many sessions presented by OSDE staff.

Students from Norman and the surrounding area joined Supt. Hofmeister for a photo after a session titled What Students Wish Their Teachers Knew.


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Last updated on July 24, 2018