As the 25th year of the Impacting Student Learning (ISL) Conference approaches, Augusta University’s College of Education and Human Development is gearing up to provide local teachers with the necessary tools to be successful in the classroom.
Ashley Oleszewski, College of Education and Human Development field experience coordinator, has come up with the tagline “for teachers, by teachers,” to describe the purpose of the conference.
“We’ve got some of our faculty talking about hip-hop pedagogy, and using their research and how to integrate hip-hop into your teaching of social studies and in your lesson,” said Oleszewski. “So that’s an interesting topic.”
The ISL Conference focuses on local, pre-service and induction-level teachers, offering up practical, relevant topics to enhance their teaching.
The conference will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at University Hall on the Summerville Campus of Augusta University. The College of Education and Human Development is expecting about 400 attendees.
Registration is free for all Augusta University students and faculty, as well as local teachers. Registration for non-Augusta University students and faculty is $25.
This year’s keynote speaker is Michael Kobito, 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Kobito serves as a music educator at Woodland High School in Cartersville, Georgia. His mission is to provide students with the ability to see their self-worth and develop skills to make the most out of their gifts.
Presenters for the conference include Augusta University’s very own faculty as well as local teachers.
Kelly Allen, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development, will present two sessions called “For K-12 Educators Who Teach Hip-Hop…and the rest of ya’ll too: Examining Educator Positionality in the Implementation of Hip-Hop Pedagogy” and “Teaching Social Studies Through Hip-Hop Pedagogy.”
While the variety of topics will help foster a productive environment for teachers and their students in the classroom, they should help teachers in their personal lives as well.
Oleszewski is looking forward to this conference specifically because the past two were virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been together, face-to-face,” she said.
There will be networking opportunities during the conference as teachers from different counties come together and collaborate. The College of Education and Human Development anticipates that many connections will be made.
“We’re really looking forward to collaborating together, meeting together and learning together and then, I think one of our strands which is really important for educators is called ‘Personal Growth and Self-Care,’” said Oleszewski. “So, they have that opportunity for professional development and learning, but hopefully then learning some strategies on how to take care of themselves as well.”
The main goal of this conference is to supply teachers with strategies they need to help their students better understand the material being taught, she said.
“It’s meant to be very practical and hands-on strategies that they could implement on Monday morning,” said Oleszewski.
Adding to the many reasons why the conference is significant, Oleszewski said many partner districts require this conference as part of their induction program. High school pathway students who plan to pursue a career in teaching are also encouraged to attend the conference. Oleszewski said there will be a specially designed track for those students.
“This is always a popular part of the conference,” she added.
Because 2023 marks the 25th year of the conference, local teachers and previous coordinators will be celebrated for their hard work and dedication. Those being honored include the founder of the Impacting Student Learning Conference, Elizabeth Murray-Pendergraft, PhD, who started the conference with a total of 50 people; a previous chair, Stacie Pettit, PhD; and past coordinators Dean Judi Wilson, PhD, Ronnie Harrison and Julie Herron, PhD.
“We’ll be honoring those people while we’re here and we’re going to have some door prizes throughout the day to create some excitement and celebrate 25 years,” Oleszewski said.
Learn more and register on the Impacting Student Learning Conference webpage.