August 16, 2017
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Teachers get a chance to learn, network and get inspired at free summit event

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
July 21, 2017

Sonoma State University will be one of 35 locations statewide to host thousands of teachers from across California on July 28 to learn together at an annual event led by teachers, for teachers. This year marks the third year that “Better Together: California Teachers Summit” has been held, allowing teachers a chance to come together to network, learn, collaborate, energize and gear up for the coming school year. 

The free event features TED-style presentations by local teachers and discussions on teacher-selected topics. Attendees are also given a chance to share ideas and resources with their peers, strengthening their overall network. 

The day will kick off with a keynote address by former second lady Dr. Jill Biden, Ph.D., who will share insights from her 30-year teaching career. Her speech at the headquarters site of Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, will be telecast at every site. Other key speakers include Jonna Weidaw, local Ed Talk speaker, who will talk about her experiences in alternative education in Mendocino County, Dr. Carlos Ayala, Dean of the School of Education at SSU, Ken Simon, Director of Programs at World Savvy, and Betsy Fox, New Teacher Center (NTC) facilitator.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Dr. Jill Biden will be joining us as our keynote speaker,” says Jesse Klein, Assistant to the Dean at Sonoma State University’s School of Education. “Dr. Biden is a lifelong educator and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden. As second lady, she worked to highlight the importance of community colleges to America’s future while continuing to teach as a full-time English professor at a community college in Northern Virginia. With the February 2017 launch of the Biden Foundation, Jill and her husband will continue their commitment to public education. Dr. Biden’s experience and insights are especially valuable as California strives to better serve all of our students in a changing world.” 

Organizers of the event, including the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, the California State University, and New Teacher Center, hope the summit will empower teachers to support California students, protect their values as educators and set an example for the nation. 

All California pre-K through 12 teachers, teacher candidates, school administrators and other educators are invited to attend, as well as independent school teachers, junior college instructors, university professors, recent credential candidates and teachers-in-training. 

This year, Sonoma State University School of Education has partnered with the California International Studies Project and World Savvy, a national education nonprofit that works with educators, schools and districts, to host the teachers summit.

Also new this year is a “Design Thinking for Active Citizenship” workshop, facilitated by World Savvy, where teachers can learn design thinking and how they can use it in their classrooms to guide students to think globally and act locally, to be change makers and solution finders. 

SSU expects teachers to attend from Sonoma County, as well as Napa, Mendocino, and Marin counties.