From an inspirational message by a state legislator to hands-on curriculum training, the annual Texas Private Schools Conference hosted at the Baylor School of Education on July 9 had a lot to offer. Rep. Scott Turner of Rockwall shared his personal life story, a journey that led him through playing in the NFL to his current role as an elected Texas state representative from Rockwall.
“Teachers and coaches are my heroes,” Turner said, referring to the impact of educational leaders in his life. “As teachers, the words you speak to young people can last a lifetime,” he said. “Let them be encouraging, edifying, uplifting and honest. Y’all have that opportunity every day.”
Turner said that his teachers told him, “You can do it.” And that was a primary reason for his success.
The one-day workshop for teachers and administrators in private and independent schools kicked off with a welcome from School of Education Dean Dr. Jon Engelhardt, who emphasized the role of educators as leaders, whether or not they serve in an administrative role. “Our goal at the School of Education is to prepare each graduate to be a leader,” he said.
Rep. Turner added to the leadership theme, telling the attendees, “You are servant leaders, because you are laying down your life for kids.”
This is the second year that Baylor SOE has co-hosted the statewide conference with the Texas Private Schools Association. TPSA executive director Laura Colangelo moderated a question-and-answer session with Turner following his talk and delved into issues affecting private schools that may come up in next year’s legislative session.
The conference also featured a presentation by Misty Baker, director of health insurance information for the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas, explaining the impact of the Affordable Care Act on schools as employers and on school staff.
Lunch speaker Rachel Carter explained the online networking services provided by the company Living Tree and gave several demonstrations of how schools and teachers use Living Tree products to communicate with students and parents.
During the afternoon, Baylor School of Education professors and graduate students led hands-on workshops in the four core subject areas of English, math, social studies, and science. The Baylor presenters provided the latest information on classroom technology and learning styles for all levels of K-12 students.
To see photos from the conference, visit the SOE Facebook page at facebook.com/SOE.
By Meg Cullar