The first Virtual Learning Day of 2019-2020 was also the first Professional Learning Day of the school year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. While students were diligently working on their virtual assignments, hundreds of educators got together for a unique collaborative event.
More than 600 teachers and counselors from 10 schools that make up the Kempsville corridor—Arrowhead Elementary School, Fairfield Elementary School, Kempsville Elementary School, Kempsville Meadows Elementary School, Point O’View Elementary School, Providence Elementary School, Woodstock Elementary School, Kempsville Middle School, Larkspur Middle School and Kempsville High School—participated in the very first event of its kind Oct. 14. The Kempsville K-12 Connections Conference at Kempsville High School was the brainchild of principals at these schools.
Within weeks of the initial idea, school leaders secured the space, speakers and schedule to welcome all the teachers and counselors from a school feeder pattern to one location, where they could network across grade levels. Following a morning keynote address from Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence, in which he encouraged everyone to “know their why” when it comes to working in education, attendees chose from nearly 50 sessions that focused on topics like social/emotional learning, specially designed instruction, culturally-relevant learning, equity, engagement in math, social entrepreneurship and podcasting.
“I was in awe at the number of teachers and specialists willing to give of their time to prepare and share their knowledge with their colleagues,” said Melissa George, principal of Kempsville High School.
“What a day!” exclaimed Patti Jenkins, principal of Kempsville Middle School. “We held conversations that spanned the student experience from the first day of kindergarten to the last day of senior year, and every moment in between. Our K-12 feeder patterns are passionate about continuing this work.”
George seconded her enthusiasm. “There was a renewed energy level in the buildings after the conference. We are looking forward to reading the attendees’ feedback and planning an even better Kempsville K-12 Connections Conference in 2020-2021.”