California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Statewide Summit Highlights Teachers

Published: August 17, 2015

Attendees of the Teachers Summit at CSULB listen to actress and teacher advocate Yvette Nicole Brown speak.

Nearly 1,400 local PreK-12 teachers converged on CSULB on July 31 to be part of the “Better Together: California Teachers Summit” that was held at 33 sites the same day across the state.

The event provided an opportunity for attendees to hear from nationally renowned speakers and give teachers a forum to share cutting-edge strategies and high-impact practices led by teachers and for teachers.

“I was extremely happy that the California Teachers Summit put a spotlight on our university, campus and hundreds of graduates, who are now K-12 teachers and administrators. I couldn’t be prouder,” said Nat Hansuvadha, an associate professor in CSULB’s College of Education who coordinated the campus event. “The successful turnout was a reflection of excitement and curiosity to honor and motivate teachers for a day of learning and inspiration at this free event.”

Teachers came away with concrete tools and strategies for navigating recent changes in implementing the new California Standards, and a day of networking with colleagues from their home region to support future collaboration. In addition, teachers had the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas about current issues in education of their choice that were important and relevant to their teaching practice.

“As a new teacher I found the Teachers Summit at CSULB invaluable for accessing a wealth of experience and creative thinkers to help me plan for this coming year from different perspectives from my own,” said Erin Cooper, who teaches 10th grade world history as a student-teacher at Middle College High School in Santa Ana. “I also really appreciated the fluidity in the format for selection of the discussion topics, so that each teacher could attend the sessions they found the most valuable. It was a wonderful way to meet other educators passionate about their craft and helping students achieve their best.”

The day was highlighted by keynote speakers for the statewide event, which included actress and teacher advocate Yvette Nicole Brown and astronaut and STEM-Ed activist Leland D. Melvin. Speakers on-site at CSULB included alum Amy Laughlin, a K-6 intervention specialist at Hansen Elementary School in Anaheim, who was named one of five California teachers of the year last spring and Jose Rivas, a physics and engineering teacher at Lennox Academy in Inglewood. Rivas was named one of the Carlston Family Foundation’s 2015 Outstanding Teachers of America and received the 2015 Shell Science Teaching Award.

In her welcome speech at the summit, CSULB’s Dean of the College of Education Marquita Grenot-Scheyer noted during the day that California State University schools produce about half the teachers in California, and about 10 percent of all teachers across the nation.

“It was a pleasure to be recognized, from the state, for all of the hard work that teachers invest into the lives of their students,” said event attendee April Joy De Vera, a teacher at Long Beach’s Gethsemane Baptist Christian School, who graduated from CSULB in 2010 with a degree in liberal studies. “The gratitude I received was humbling. I was inspired by the testimonies of personal triumph of other teachers like Amy Laughlin and Leland Melvin. During the summit, I was reminded of why education is my calling. I aspire to be a teacher who instills belief and victory in her students.”

Statewide, the summit drew approximately 15,000 participants, and was co-hosted by Santa Cruz-based New Teacher Center, in partnership with the California State University, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and its member institutions. The events were supported by $3.5 million in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

–Shayne Schroeder