Some 500 teachers will gather at Richmond Hill High School Friday for Bryan County Schools’ first-ever EdCamp.
The nationwide movement, sometimes referred to as an “unconference,” is designed to provide participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators.
“EdCamp empowers teachers to self-select the topics and types of professional learning they want to receive by participating in setting up the schedule for the day and developing the topics for the sessions,” according to Aviva Goelman Rice, coordinator of professional learning for Bryan County Schools. “We are collecting session ideas from our participants right now and will spend the first half hour of the EdCamp organizing those sessions.”
Rice said the idea to host the event came from suggestions by principals last fall. She and Cindy Dixon, an English teacher at RHHS who has led EdCamps in the past, are co-chairing the event.
Friday’s date was already scheduled as a teacher work day in the district, but the EdCamp is not mandatory. Rice said teachers have the option of working in their own classrooms, but those who attend will receive credit toward their ongoing professional learning requirements. About 10 percent of the attendees will be from other districts.
Rice and Dixon have spent the last several months collecting ideas from teachers for the day.
“It is completely open to teachers whether they attend a ‘big picture’ type of session or a specific content area/grade level session,” Rice said. “Very often teachers from various content areas/grade levels will gather together around a common interest that may not be necessarily ‘big picture’ but related to specific student needs, technology integration, pedagogy, etc.”
Teachers will be able to take part in up to five sessions to collaborate on current classroom practices.
“Because teachers are in the role of attendee and/or presenter, the kinds of sessions we have will depend on what teachers are actually interested in and willing to share from their own practice,” she said.