The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District kicked off its faculty’s school year Friday, with its Second Annual Expect Excellence Summit.
The summit was held at Starkville High School for all the district’s teachers from pre-K to high school. The teachers were able to attend their choice of several professional development sessions, and were also treated to a barbecue picnic for lunch.
Superintendent Eddie Peasant said the district hoped to build on the success of last year’s inaugural Expecting Excellence Summit.
“We are just offering a day of professional development for our teachers,” Peasant said. “We brought in presenters to present different strategies for them, some training, some of the programs we are using and implementing. It’s just kind of a day to do a little district-level professional development. We have a program set up with sessions for them to choose from.”
Peasant said some of the sessions would count as continuing education units as required by the Mississippi Department of Education, as required for maintaining a teaching license.
“Outside of just increasing proficiency in reading, math and writing, it’s also just relationship building and understanding relationship building and how to know our children better, relationship building with our students, relationship building amongst colleagues and also relationship building with our families in working with the schools,” Peasant said.
He also said the summit was a good opportunity for district employees to fellowship with each other.
“The summit itself has been really smooth,” Peasant said. “We looked at last year’s summit, and just made some adjustments, and it’s made things even smoother for our teachers.”
Kim Campbell, an eighth grade global studies teacher and dean of students at Hopkins West Junior High in Hopkins, Minnesota, presented at the summit for the second year, and was giving a lecture titled “Engaging Boys! Yes, It Is Possible.”
“I’m doing a session on engaging boys, a little about the difference between the male and female brain, but looking at it through the lens of what it means as a teacher, so basically some strategies that I have found successful with the boys,” Campbell said.
She said dealing with boys properly was a common issue for middle school teachers.
“When the research tells us that we have nearly eight qualified females to two males, we know that we need to add a few things into our lessons as teachers to help our boys be even more successful,” Campbell said.
Henderson Ward Stewart PEAK gifted teacher Meghan Johnson shared what she had learned during the summit.
“I’ve learned beneficial strategies to help students throughout the school year, and in one session we learned about emotional poverty, which I think has given me kind of a deeper understanding of why some students act the way they do, and now I’ll be better able to help them,” Johnson said.
Students in the district return on Wednesday.