Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hornet's Got Talent! Huntsville ISD's Back to School Conference Returns to Huntsville High

After the success of last year's first ever Back to School Conference, we all had one thought:  Let's Do It Again!

Welcome to the Hive!
The idea is simple.  Each year, teachers have a lot to learn to stay on top of the latest technologies, initiatives and policies, so let's bring the conference experience to our teachers and have them learn it all here at the high school in a conference-type environment.

They're Teachers, They're Spouses, They're Listening!
Keith and Christina Jeffcoat are 'tuned in' during the first session.
This year our theme was "Hornets Got Talent," and throughout the conference, we kept noticing proof of that fact all around us.

New-to-the-District Teachers Elizabeth Clark and Darius Hopkins inspired us when they
shared their perspective coming into Huntsville ISD through the previous week's New Teacher Academy.
So, after our Convocation but before our students returned, we came together to learn at Huntsville ISD's Back to School Conference.

Amy Mayer, Director of District Initiatives & Staff Development,  listens to the new teachers share.

It all began in the auditorium first thing on Wednesday, August 20th.  Amy Mayer, Director of District Initiatives and Staff Development, hosted this first session with all teaching staff.

A scene from the BTS video, where Sonny Cruse sings his breakout hit, "Back this Fall."
Our Interim Superintendent is not just a pretty face!  He's got a pretty voice, too!

Amy introduced special speakers, a surprise serenading performance from Huntsville High's Glee and the annual Back to School Video (starring some of the finest acting, song and dance stylings that you will see in all of Huntsville, Walker County, East Texas, Texas, the United States, North America the World!!). 

Why does HHS's Glee serenade our teachers?  Well, because they are "Happpppppyyyy!!!!"
L-R Chris George, Alyx Cousins, Colton Hoover and Kaleigh Ambrose.

Marjetta Spriggs, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction, shares her story to a packed house

In this first session, Marjetta Spriggs shared her personal story.  Anyone who knows Mrs. Spriggs, knows she isn't naturally inclined to talk about herself.

However, she took Interim Superintendent Sonny Cruse's message of "Sharing Our Story" to heart and movingly told the packed house of her journey.  She shared her struggles and the ultimate success of her education.  And, she underlined the importance of the impact that one person can make in a child's life.  In her case, it was the teacher that believed in her and that insisted Marjetta believe in herself.

Let's get it on!  Huntsville High's Bobby Connor and David Sheffield are ready to learn.

Afterwards, teachers then split up and attended workshops they had signed up for earlier via preregistration.  By the way, although there were mandatory training workshops, teachers were able to choose a portion of their conference itinerary.

ESC6 Folks Step in to Lend a Helping Hand:
L-R Back Row: ESC6's Cathy Moak (in black), HISD iTech Ruth Hutchinson,
HISD iTech Karen Paschal & ESC6's Erika Tijerina
Front Row: HISD's iTech Melissa Thornton and ESC6's Melissa McClatchy
Naturally, Huntsville ISD's Curriculum and Technology organized the event and taught many of the workshops.   However, our department brought in experts from the Education Service Center VI (you probably know it as ESC6) as well as representatives from ClassFlowEduphoria and Schoology.

District Behavior Coordinator Jeri Johnsen leads a highly interactive training in the Commons.

Most noteworthy of all the workshop leaders would have to be the teachers themselves.  We were able to tap the expertise and experience of many of our own teaching staff to lead and teach their fellow Hornets.

Let Ruth take you on a tour of Gradebook.

Samuel Houston's Barry Nichols poses in front of his teams creation.

Brooke Burns is having fun "Making and Taking"
in the (you guessed it!)"Make and Take" Session

A Packed House!  All of the signs were made by the Cheer Team!
Let's hear it for the teachers!!  And the Cheer Team!!!  (Thank you!!!)

Todd Maupin takes a break from all this learning!

Excel Center Represent!  Jim Pitts (Left) shares a table with dynamic duo, husband and wife Amy and Micah Gilcrease.
Members of the community came to support and welcome our teachers back, including the generous drink and snack donations from our Chamber of Commerce, and the newly formed community leader committee, Promoting Our Potential.
Judy Emmett of Promoting Our Potential.
Mance Park's Coach Michael Walker and (in background) Mandy Hysmith are all ears.
We also want to thank Huntsville High School Principal Beth Burt and her staff for their hospitality in allowing us to hold this conference on her campus for the second year in a row.  And of course we could not have done it without Larry Brown and the Maintenance and Operations department.  Thank you!!

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