The second annual Better Together: California Teacher's Summit was a huge success on July 29, drawing more than 10,000 preK-12 teachers to collaborate, network and empower each other at three dozen locations throughout California. A nationally recognized leader in teacher preparation, the CSU is an organizing partner of the event and hosted the Summit at 21 of its campuses.

Designed to equip teachers with the latest strategies and resources to take back to their classrooms, the Summit packed an immersive, day-long agenda consisting of motivational keynote speakers and small-group breakout sessions called Edcamp, where teachers shared with other teachers their expertise and knowledge in specific categories. Dozens of topics were covered in the Edcamp sessions, including the use of Google Classroom, dual language learning, and preventing teacher burnout.

An Edcamp session that was exceptionally well received was one related to the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which the Summit supports as the new California Standards are being rolled out across the state. Titled, "Engaging Students in Authentic Research," the topic was given special attention at two CSU campuses, Fullerton and Sacramento, with presentations of science posters and discussions of students as real scientists in pilot projects for significant attention to the NGSS in next year's Summit.

"The California Teachers Summit exposed me to best practices and issues that are currently faced in the classroom. As I prepare to teach elementary school STEM, the Summit provided me with insight from veteran teachers that I couldn't have acquired through textbooks," said Brian Cruz, CSUF Child Development student and prospective teaching credential candidate.

The Summit was headquartered at Cal State Fullerton, where it livestreamed all keynote presentations from the campus to each of the Summit's 38 satellite locations. The first keynote speaker was actor Ernie Hudson, who shared his career success story of rising out of poverty through education and how one teacher made a lasting impact on his son. "Teachers have a chance to turn the light on to show our children a perspective that they may never get anywhere else. It's not a small task, but it's a really, really important role."

Kelly Gallagher, a teacher, author and a leading voice in literacy education, dedicated his keynote presentation to the importance of integrating writing across all curriculums. "Writing produces a different kind of thinking, a deeper understanding of the subject. We must infuse more writing in the classroom."  

Additionally, each Summit hosting site also featured TED-style EdTalks, presented by local teachers. Some topics included: A Path to Inclusion, Teaching Activism to Empower our Students, and Three Powerful Steps to Optimize Learning.

"We need to do more to encourage people into the teaching profession. We are facing teacher shortages all across the country," said Dr. Cheryl Ney, Dean of the College of Education at Cal State LA.

"Having an opportunity for teachers to work as a team that uses new teaching methods of problem-based learning is an exciting opportunity for teachers working with all ages of students."

The 2016 Better Together: California Teachers Summit was hosted at the following CSU campuses:

  • Bakersfield
  • Channel Islands
  • Chico
  • Dominguez Hills
  • East Bay
  • Fresno
  • Fullerton
  • Humboldt
  • Long Beach        
  • Los Angeles
  • Monterey Bay
  • Northridge
  • Pomona
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Bernardino - Palm Desert Campus
  • San Francisco
  • San José
  • San Marcos
  • Sonoma
  • Stanislaus

To learn more about Better Together: California Teacher's Summit, visit http://cateacherssummit.com/ and to learn more about CSU's Teacher Credential Programs, visit http://www.calstate.edu/TeacherEd/.