2010 Conference

Eleventh Annual Institute, 2010

Theme: Arts and Standards
Speakers:
Dr. Philip Yenawine, director, Visual Understanding in Education; Dr. Tom Crockett, Young Audiences, Arts for Learning, Virginia; Dr. Jan Norman, national director of education, research and development, Young Audiences; Katherine Devine, visual artist; Kendall Payne, Roanoke Theatre artist; and Cindy Petersen, Young Audiences, Arts for Learning, Virginia
Award Recipient: Miss Ruth Pace, retired music teacher
Luncheon Speaker: Miss Ruth Pace
Sponsoring Divisions: Chesterfield County Public Schools, Richmond City Public Schools, Roanoke City Public Schools, Roanoke County Public Schools, Salem City Public Schools
Date: June 21-23, 2010

Participants

The eleventh annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Institute for Teaching and Learning was held June 21-23, 2010, on the Roanoke College campus. Tom Crockett, (former Executive Director, Young Audiences, Arts for Learning, Virginia); Jan Norman (National Director of Education, Research and Professional Development, Young Audiences), and Philip Yenawine (founding Director of Visual Understanding in Education) presented keynote addresses focused on the theme, Arts and Standards: Raising Student Achievement. Katherine Devine, Kendall Payne, and Cindy Petersen led workshops in fine arts and drama. Dr. Gary Whitt, Roanoke College, served again as the Institute's resident technology instructor.

Five public school divisions partnered with Roanoke College to sponsor the 2010 Institute. The partners were City of Salem Public Schools, Chesterfield City Public Schools, Richmond City Public Schools, Roanoke City Public Schools, and Roanoke County Public Schools. Thirty-five teachers and administrators represented the sponsoring schools as full-time participants. An additional 75 individuals attended based on application submissions, steering committee membership, or service as a breakout speaker. In total, 110 individuals participated in the Institute.

The Institute was privileged to host a number of special guests, including Miss Ruth Pace, recipient of the eighth annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Contribution to Education Award. William Penn and the YOYO Players presented a selection of songs and dances at the closing luncheon. YOYO is an after-school drama program facilitated by the public service organization, Total Action Against Poverty. Breakout speakers included experts from Roanoke City Schools, Roanoke County Schools, Mary Baldwin College, Hollins University, and James Madison University. Education staff members of the Taubman Museum of Art, and Rev. Dr. Robert Bonner, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, were also among the breakout speakers. Roanoke College alumni and local educational leaders participated in several proceedings. Roanoke College faculty and staff also contributed to various Institute events. The guests included President Michael Maxey, Vice President and Dean of the College Richard Smith, Vice President Charlotte Parks, Vice President Brenda Poggendorf, Dr. Lisa Earp, Professor Katie Elmore, Dr. Maria Stallions, Dr. Lisa Stoneman, and Ms. Patty Powell.

This year's Institute attendees represented 7 states: North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. From across the state of Virginia, 13 public school divisions were represented; Bedford County, Botetourt County, Chesterfield County, City of Salem, City of Virginia Beach, City of Winchester, Franklin County, Highland County, Pulaski County, Richmond City, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, and Williamsburg James City County. Guilford County Schools, North Carolina, was represented. Participants also were present from four independent schools; St. Anne Catholic, John Nevins Andrews Adventist School, Manassas Adventist Prep School, and Roanoke Valley Christian Schools.

The number of 2010 full-time participants is listed below, reflecting a decrease from 2009. The drop, though significant, is not necessarily a sign of slowing momentum. Instead, the 2010 numbers are more reflective of the attendance the Institute has historically aimed to achieve and remain above its historical average of 97.3.

 

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Full-Time Participants

37

50

48

95

98

123

90

119

166

147

110


In addition to the full-time participants in attendance at the Institute, a number of invited guests attended one or more events across the course of the three days. These individuals included Roanoke College faculty, administration, sponsored division part-time participants, session leaders, partner school principals, invited special guests, and area educational leaders and colleagues. This year's guests also included eight student performers in the YOYO Players.

 

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Invited Guests

28

30

37

155

49

38

33

38

27

22

45

 

A continuing Institute initiative during 2010 was to accept a balanced group of applicants, representing teachers at all grade levels, as well as administrators (both at the building and central administration level). Established acceptance criteria were used for this purpose, and the attendance shows a representation of participants in all sub groups. Attendance across these groups is reflected in the table below. A goal for 2011 is to continue balancing representation among grade levels and to increase pre-service teacher participation to 10%. The increase in pre-service teacher participation will strengthen the College's teacher preparation program and align with the donor's original desire to provide students an earlier exposure to professional development.

Sub Groups

Elementary

(K-5)

Middle

(6-8)

Secondary

(9-12)

PK-12 Administration

College and University

Preservice

Teachers

% Group: 2002

59%

17%

10%

14%

**

**

% Group: 2003

42.5%

16%

17%

24.5%

**

**

% Group: 2004

34.5%

20%

14.5%

13.5%

8.5%

9%

% Group:

2005

40%

15%

12.5%

20%

6.5%

6%

% Group: 2006

41%

18%

11%

7%

14%

9%

% Group:

2007

36%

13%

6%

26%

8%

11%

% Group:

2008

30%

22%

13%

26%

4%

5%

% Group: 2009

50%

20%

11%

13%

1%

5%

% Group:

2010

35%

34%

10%

9%

4%

8%


**In years prior to 2004, college and university faculty representing teacher preparation programs and preservice teachers were classified within the elementary, middle and secondary categories based upon grade level emphases of their courses or licensure pursuits. Beginning in 2004, they were reported as separate classifications.

Institute Events

Integrating fine arts into the core curriculum was the focus of this year's Institute. Grounded in constructivist theory, this emphasis furthered the Institute's commitment to offer annual themes that build on a consistent theoretical base, helping teachers and administrators identify ways to use art, music, drama, and creativity to improve student learning.

The Institute continued offerings that have been well received in the past, such as keynote addresses, question and answer sessions with keynote speakers, technology workshops, and a variety of breakout sessions. A local artist, a dancer, and an education consultant combined their talents to offer workshops on integrating the fine arts and drama into the curriculum The Monday afternoon "tea" and closing awards luncheon were continued as special events. Tuesday's wine and cheese reception, including a tour of the Taubman Museum of Art, was held in the Museum's atrium in downtown Roanoke. Dr. Maria Stallions met with MSCI veterans at a working lunch to share how the Institute is helping them build a stronger teaching practice and to investigate ways to publish their work. Following last year's institute session with Dr. Stallions, Stephanie Doyle, a MSCI veteran, published her work in Kappa Delta Pi's The Record and Virginia's Teacher Association Journal. In the evenings, participants were invited to interact on campus and at various local sites, and were provided access to the College's computer lab. The College's bookstore also offered resources for participant purchase.

Breakout sessions focused on areas of continuing interest such as faith and learning and hands-on classroom application of past and present Institute themes. Speakers for these sessions were selected from a pool of proposals submitted to the Institute faculty. Twelve local and regional experts presented on topics related to the arts. On Wednesday morning, Dr. Jan Norman chaired a panel of experts who shared their knowledge of the impact of the arts on student achievement. At the close of the Institute, participants were also provided an opportunity to learn about teacher professional development opportunities sponsored by Young Audiences, Arts for Learning, Virginia.

At the Institute's closing luncheon on Wednesday, June 23, Miss Ruth Pace was honored as recipient of the eighth annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Contribution to Education Award. The award recognized her life work as a music teacher and as an advocate of arts in schools around the Commonwealth of Virginia. Miss Pace taught for 40 years and after 25 years of retirement, she still teaches voice lessons. Her career and personal life experiences closely mirror the life and work of Margaret Sue Copenhaver, herself a former public school librarian. Both were leaders in education and were at the forefront of women obtaining college degrees and building successful professional careers in education.

Assessment

This year's evaluation forms measured the participants' perception and satisfaction with the program and how the Institute is affecting teacher practice and learning.

Approximately 58% of MSCI 2010's full-time participants submitted evaluation forms, a lower percentage than hoped. Attempting to increase the number of evaluation returns, the forms were distributed in the professional panel session offered as the last instructional period of the Institute and immediately preceding the closing luncheon. The low return indicates two possible concerns: 1) It is possible that a significant number of full-time participants may not be attending the last offered session, or 2) Attending participants may not be completing the distributed forms. It is likely that the low return results from a combination of these issues. To address this challenge in the coming year, the faculty and steering committee will consider the implications of low attendance in these sessions. Does it indicate a need for a schedule/program change? Should an incentive be provided to increase attendance? Furthermore, the faculty will look for other means of increasing the number of distributed evaluations being returned.

Data from the 2010 surveys reveals both significant successes and exciting possibilities for future growth. Collected data indicates positive participant perception in the areas of: 1) Institute organization, offerings, and environment; 2) personal growth in understanding of pedagogical theory; 3) professional renewal and affirmation, and 4) potential for positive change in classroom teaching and continuing professional growth. Participant feedback included statements such as "This Institute showed me what we WANT to do and how that can change lives." And, "Here, there are dedicated professionals whose basic drive is to help the children be successful - so awe-inspiring...."

Participants also offered suggestions that may be beneficial for future growth. Below are highlights of the program's effectiveness and possible areas for improvement. More detailed information is available in the attached data reports.

Institute Offerings and Environment

Areas of Effectiveness

The following chart details areas that both veterans and new participants responded to favorably in relation to Institute offerings and environment. All of the items listed below received a mean score of 4.23 or higher on a five-point scale. Those designated with an asterisk received a score of 4.5 or higher.

At the Institute

My classroom experience was valued by others.

My knowledge base was valued by others.

*I was treated with professional respect.

My time was valued.

*I felt encouraged to continue teaching.

*I found the environment enjoyable.

I found the environment encouraged me to engage with others.

I gained a new appreciation for a colleague(s).

I gained a deeper appreciation for a colleague(s).

I learned more about what my peers do as educators.

My teaching network was strengthened.

My interaction with peers encouraged me to continue teaching.

A mutual respect for colleagues was fostered.


Suggestions for Future Use

The suggestions listed below provide ideas for future improvement and Institute growth.

  • Breakout sessions need greater attention - variety, more classroom practitioners.
  • Day One requires a significant amount of sitting and listening. Spread out keynote sessions over days one and two, with various interactive workshops also offered on both days. Avoid back-to-back keynote sessions. (This is a recurring comment from previous years).
  • More networking and processing time.
  • Expand the audience - out of state, administrators, private schools.

Institute Content: Pedagogical Theory

Areas of Effectiveness

The following chart details areas that both veteran and new participants favorably responded to regarding Institute content, including personal growth in understanding pedagogical theory. All of the items listed below received a mean score of 4.26 or higher on a five-point scale. The one designated with an asterisk received the highest mean score of 4.62.

At the Institute

I found the pedagogical knowledge pieces to be connected.

I found the knowledge pieces presented built upon one another.

What I learned at the Institute

Can be used immediately in my classroom.

Is authentic or has relevance in my classroom.

Can change my classroom practice.

Will change my classroom practice.

Has provided me with new teaching skills.

Has provided me with new knowledge.

*Aligns with what I believe about effective teaching and learning.

Helped me recognize how my own personal teaching practice can be improved.

Caused me to reflect on my beliefs about teaching and learning.


Suggestions for Future Use

The suggestions listed below provide ideas for future improvement and Institute growth.

  • Avoid speakers "selling" a product.
  • Continue exploring ways to make all of the breakout sessions interactive and increase authenticity to the sessions' titles and descriptions.

Potential for Positive Impact Going Forward

Areas of Effectiveness

The following chart details areas that both veteran and new participants favorably responded to regarding the impact of the Institute on their classroom teaching and continuing professional growth. All of the items listed below received a mean score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale.

After attending the Institute

I am more likely to continue teaching.

I am likely to share my new knowledge and skills with peers at my local school.

I feel inclined to share my learning with new teachers.

I feel inclined to share my learning with pre-service teachers.

I intend to implement the new knowledge and skills I learned.

After attending the Institute multiple years (responses provided by veteran participants only)

I understand how the different themes/topics presented work together to build a consistent teaching practice.

My teaching practice is noticeably different.

My teaching practice has changed or been modified.

My students have experienced an achievement gain as a result of the instructional changes I have implemented.

I feel I have a better understanding of teaching.

I have a better understanding of the constructivist teaching philosophy.


Suggestions for Future Use

One of the key initiatives of the Institute is to develop and strengthen a sense of scholarship among academics, practitioners and students by exploring scholarly and practical ideas addressing teaching effectiveness, student learning outcomes and promotion of a lifelong commitment to learning. Toward this purpose, the Copenhaver Institute plans to explore the creation of Teaching and Learning Perspectives, an annual refereed journal published online. The journal will seek to advance a constructivist understanding of teaching and learning by presenting diverse forms of scholarship and practitioner-research that are grounded in the Institute's annual themes.

2010 Participants Speak - Direct Quotes From Evaluation Forms

  • The networking/collaboration with other teachers was invaluable.
  • It was superior to any conference I have ever attended.
  • All have helped me to dare to take risks, see things from a new perspective and be encouraged and inspired to keep trying.
  • The presentations and discussions refocus my planning and brainstorming on the core principles of education and learning, reminding me that my purpose is to truly foster learning, not "teach to a test."
  • Topics year-to-year seem to build on each other; aid in "connecting the dots...."
  • The breakout sessions and panel discussion were helpful in illustrating to me how I can implement these practices in my classroom.
  • The professionals presenting were authentic, seasoned educators who backed theories with practice/experience.
  • I am excited to see that there ARE educators, new and experienced, who are excited about their profession.
  • This was a great experience.
  • Unlike other educators' conferences, I felt pampered and valued.

Conclusion

The Margaret Sue Copenhaver Institute is maintaining its reputation as a viable venue for teacher professional development. It continues to be marked by outstanding keynote speakers, an environment of professional camaraderie, and participants who enthusiastically embrace new ideas and implement them in their own classrooms. Teacher efficacy is strengthened as indicated by the participants' reports of being treated professionally and having opportunities to build relationships. Finding ways to strengthen the quality and variety of breakout session warrants continued attention. Ensuring a broad and diverse pool of participants is another way to boost the Institute's programming and reputation.

As the Institute continues to evolve, the directors desire to focus attention on research and year-long support for participants. Research indicates that developing and nurturing long-term relationships with sponsoring school divisions and participants is required for teacher change. For the Institute to establish itself as a credible voice in the field, its research and publication arm must be extended. The introduction of an annual online journal will serve as an initial step toward this aim. However, for high quality, on-site programming to occur, resources are needed to support faculty field work, requiring release time from regular College contracted duties. Grants and additional endowment are means to secure this much needed time.

Respectfully submitted,

Leslie Murrill, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education
MSCI Co-Director
Tim Reynolds, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education
MSCI Co-Director