More than 250 educators from eastern Oregon school districts gathered on Friday, October 11th at Sunridge Middle School to listen, collaborate and share. The 2019 Regional K-12 Conference was organized by the InterMountain ESD to offer a local opportunity on Oregon’s Statewide In-Service Day.
The morning began with keynote speaker Robert Jackson, a former teacher and now motivational speaker who focuses on teaching cultural diversity and working with students experiencing trauma. Jackson, who experienced trauma during his childhood, said he had to determine “Who I am” before he could help students deal with their own adverse childhood issues. Jackson encouraged his audience to educate, activate and motivate students to lead to success.
The conference is open to educators from the IMESD’s 18 component school districts in Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Baker counties.
According to Erin Lair, IMESD Director of Teaching and Learning, this is the third year the IMESD has organized this type of conference in Pendleton, with the intention that staff from the region’s districts don’t have to travel too far for professional development on In-Service day. “Our focus is to stay local and for educators to have an as good or better, and hopefully more targeted, professional development experience today,” Lair said.
About 17 breakout sessions, covering multiple topics ranging from reading and science to social media and school culture, are offered. Roundtable discussions are also part of the day.
A crucial take-away for everyone today, said Jackson, is the importance of making connections with students. “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.”