Educators from across Long Island gathered this week in Riverhead to participate in a global symposium dedicated to fostering improved leadership skills.
EdCamp, a program created by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, is designed to facilitate a global discussion among community leaders.
“This is a day of collaboration that’s dedicated to learning, teaching and leading,” Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney said during last week’s Board of Education meeting. “This provides a really wonderful platform where educators, teachers and administrators join to share and collaborate in a participant-driven learning opportunity.”
Ms. Carney said Riverhead High School, which hosted EdCamp on Monday, was one of 35 sites around the world to do so simultaneously.
Michael Hugelmeyer, the district’s director of professional development, said professionals from across the East End were invited to attend. He said nearly 200 educators, from pre-service teachers to superintendents, participated.
“It was the largest in New York State and one of the most populated EdCamps in the country,” Mr. Hugelmeyer said.
Other leadership events took place in Alaska, Hawaii, California, Florida and Chile.
Mr. Hugelmeyer said the district worked with Hampton Bays Middle School principal Dennis Schug and Hampton Bays teacher Scott Garofola to bring the conference from that district, where it was held last year, to Riverhead. He said last year’s EdCamp was “inspiring and infectious,” leading Riverhead to want to host this year’s event and also take part in the 2017 conference.
“We are looking to continue to move the location of EdCamp next summer,” Mr. Hugelmeyer said. “This is purposeful, as we are looking to change the location every year and, with each previous host school ‘paying it forward,’ we will assist next year’s host school to our fullest capacity.”
The symposium, now in its fourth year, aims to instruct K-12 educators in public and private schools. During last summer’s event, more than 1,800 people gathered from the U.S., Canada, Chile and China, collaborating virtually on education-based projects, according to EdCamp’s website.
Mr. Hugelmeyer said participants at Riverhead’s EdCamp were able to connect with other sites throughout the nation through a Google Hangout hosted by Fred Ende and Lisa Meade, administrators from other New York EdCamps.
Each location created its own Twitter hashtag, which participants used to share what they learned or found interesting during the day’s sessions. Users were also able to search other hashtags to see what their peers were discussing, Mr. Hugelmeyer said.
“The profession of teaching is greatest benefited when professionals can freely and successfully share best practices and empower one another to lead classrooms of students across our country,” he said. “EdCamp is a great vehicle to aid in that process.”
Photo: EdCamp session using games to teach math. (Credit: Riverhead School District, courtesy)