Education department and Pioneer RESA to host renewal conference

By Janie Harris

Contributing Writer

Piedmont’s education department is hosting the first annual Piedmont Educator Renewal Conference on Saturday,  March 23. 

Piedmont is partnering with the Pioneer Regional Educational Service Agency (Pioneer RESA) and expects students and educators from across North Georgia to attend. 

Conference attendees  will collaborate at the Demorest campus to share information and new ideas about the Common Core Standards Intuitive as well as information about motivating students, technology in the classroom, the Foxfire approach to teaching, and supporting culturally diverse populations. 

Piedmont has partnered with Pioneer RESA to help the conference establish more credibility, according to Dr. Hilton Smith, a professor of education at Piedmont. 

Pioneer RESA is one of many organizations that provide training for teachers who are not yet certified in a certain areas.

If an educator wanted to begin to teach something that they lacked a certificate for, Pioneer RESA could train them in that subject and give them a certificate.

A committee has been carefully selecting the workshops, breakout session, and poster presentations that will be scheduled for the conference. According to Dr. Don Gnecco, dean of education, and Smith, the topics of these productions will be varied, and they have about fifteen presentations lined up. 

“The original idea of the committee was to bring teachers together, and we hope many of them will be Piedmont alumni who are working hard in the field who can come and get new ideas, reconnect with colleagues that they may not have seen since they took classes here, and go back to school with one or two things they can implement in their practice,” said Gnecco. 

Everyone involved in education is invited. 

The education department has invited all educators in North Georgia, all previous education alumni, current education students, teachers who are currently hosting Piedmont students in their classroom for student teaching and even younger students who plan to major in education. 

Gnecco said, “There are many wonderful and enthusiastic teachers out there and I think it is good to see that if you are looking to be one [a teacher].”

But, what does the title, “Living with the Common Core Standards,” mean to educators? 

The Common Core Standards are very new ideas that were created as a base for curriculum development and instruction across the nation to help students get a more definite education where ever they may be attending school. 

Smith said, “When we were thinking about making this relevant to what teachers are facing in their classrooms today in terms of instruction and curriculum, the Common Core is the new thing aboard.”

But don’t expect only to hear about the Common Core. The whole conference will focus a number of relevant issues and trends in education. 

By the end of the day, all those who attended should have reconnected with the college and acquired a sense of renewal according to Gnecco.

“One of my goals has been that folks that come here have a great day, reconnect with the college and with one another, and go out with some new thoughts, some new approaches, and also sort of a sense of ‘I can do it,’” said Gnecco.