Summer Regional Educational Consortium draws record numbers

John Strebe, a nationally recognized presenter worked with over two hundred area educators this summer on ways to engage students through collaborative strategies.

John Strebe, a nationally recognized presenter worked with over two hundred area educators this summer on ways to engage students through collaborative strategies.

Fifteen area school divisions were represented at 2015’s Summer Regional Educational Consortium Professional Development program, sponsored by Rappahannock Community College’s Workforce and Community Development Center.

The theme of “New sessions, new faces, new ideas” was maintained throughout the fifty sessions that were offered over a period of three months. Overall attendance established a new record of 1,087 persons; among those attending were teachers, administrators, bus drivers, administrative assistants, cafeteria managers, substitute teachers, and paraprofessionals.

Lee Anderson’s History Tour was a particular favorite this year; participant Warren Zugar expressed the opinion of many of his peers with his comment, “You provided the best four consecutive days of professional development I have experienced in thirty-eight years of teaching.”

New Kent High School educators heard motivational speaker John Hodge from Hampton on the subject of gaining the interest of apathetic students. “This session was most helpful and thought-provoking,” one responded. “The presenter was awesome with his ‘true to life’ stories.”

Twenty-three of the educators attending the summer program accompanied Captain David Rowe from Lewisetta for “A Day on the Bay”: a session that, according to one of Rowe’s guests, “should be offered all year long. I learned so much that I can use in my classroom!”

A new concept offered in June was the two-day Literacy Institute. This seminar, developed by Dr. R. Lynn Canady, a professor emeritus of the University of Virginia, has gathered state and national attention with its focus on pre-K and primary literacy education.

“If students cannot read on grade level by grade three, we will continue to use a Band-Aid approach to get students through to graduation … and too many students will not make it to that point,” states Dr. Canady. The Institute brought in experts from Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia’s King George and Buena Vista school divisions in order to present the topic to large groups as well as smaller break-out sessions.

Among the nationally recognized speakers featured during the Summer Program were John Strebe, Dr. Devin Kearns, Dr. Steven Leinwand, Paula Brown, Dr. Whitney Krickovic, Noel Woolard, and C. J. Butler. Representatives of the Virginia Department of Education provided updates to the existing English and Mathematics Standards of Learning, while local favorite Margaret Williams once more explained how to make technology “fun and doable.” Also returning this year was Tara Brent of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in Northumberland, who sponsored the successful session, “Reading Makes Cents.”

Other topics included Crisis Prevention Institute training with Dr. Sheila Carr of King William County Public Schools; Sign Language with RCC’s Marcia Thomas; and Rigor and Instructional Alignment with Harriet Dawson of RCC-Workforce. In addition, Terrence McGregor of the Chesapeake Bay Center for Health Education arranged for three CPR instructional sessions — a licensure requirement for all Virginia teachers.

The Regional Educational Consortium offers professional development opportunities throughout the year for the benefit of participating school divisions’ employees. For more information, or to review all of the available courses, lectures, workshops, and cultural enrichment opportunities, please e-mail Harriet Dawson at, or visit the Regional Educational Consortium website.