HELENA – Teachers met in Helena on Thursday and Friday for the “Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers” conference.
Topics included leadership, finding solutions within the schools, and closing the achievement gap for students in Montana.
About 90 teachers and administrators from across the state attended from schools across the state.
“The nice thing about it is it’s a combination of teachers and administrators present,” said Marco Ferro the Public Policy & Professional Development Director Montana Federation of Public Employees, “They can take this information back to their school district and use it.”
Several colleague circles were held over the two day event to help attendees share ideas and experiences on the topics presented.
Organizers say the conference is about cultivating teachers as leaders and helping them be leaders without leaving the classroom.
Organizer and Chief Joseph Middle School teacher Anne Keith believes that for many problems facing Montana classrooms the answer is already out there.
“We believe the solutions are in the room,“ said Keith, “We need to use teacher expertise to solve education challenges.”
Keith added that the teaching profession is at a crossroads and those present want to establish teachers as professional experts when it comes to education.
“I always say nobody goes into their doctor and tells them what to do but they’ll come into a classroom and tell teachers what to do,” said Keith, “We are the experts and we are celebrating and trying to elevate our expertise and raise the teaching profession to a higher standard.”
The conference was made possible by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation.