LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
Teachers and officials from public schools statewide turned out Friday to hear experts talk about ways to improve school districts and public education during the 2012 Leadership Institute at the University of Central Arkansas.
“It’s all focused on how we achieve student improvement,” said Terry James, chair of the Department of Leadership Studies at UCA. “It’s our commitment to high-quality public education.”
UCA has been hosting the institute for about five years.
About 60 school administrators, teachers and even students studying education systems turned out to attend workshops and to hear keynote speaker Andrea Rorrer, director of the Utah Education Policy Center, talk about ways to improve school district leadership, policy and student achievements. About seven officials from Conway Public Schools were among those who attended the all-day session Friday, James said. Teachers came from as far away as Sebastian and Lee counties, he said.
Sessions included presentations on cyber bullying, policies for social networking tools and ways to get parents of underachieving students to participate.
District officials want
to attend to make sure they bring quality education to their school districts, James said. Rorrer said the key to being a successful district includes equality in schools. Students need equal access and opportunities that will eventually lead to higher education and better-paying jobs, she said. Even economies depend, in part, on the success of educating students, she said.
“School district ultimately play one of the most essential roles,” Rorrer said.
Rorrer said schools should be a learning place where students thrive, not just survive. When she was in high school, a school official told her college would be waisted on her, she said. Opportunities teachers have to grow and learn benefit students, she said.
“The thriving in our school system, the opportunity for students to thrive, for families to be fully engaged, depends on how we open the opportunities for teaching and how that in turn opens to opportunities for learning.”
School administrators said Friday they came to learn what they could from others and improve their own school districts. William Rikard, assistant principal of Southside High School in Batesville, said he was attending the institute for his second year. He said the workshops and the speakers help his district get a better feel for what’s going on nationwide in education.
“We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves,” Rikard said.