2011 Conference

Twelfth Annual Institute, 2011

Theme: Staying the Course: Renewing the Call to Teach
Speaker: Dr. Nel Nodding, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, at Stanford University
Award Recipient: Dr. Lorraine Lange, Superintendent, Roanoke County Public Schools
Luncheon Speaker:  Dr. Frank Winstead, worldwide consultant and teacher
Sponsoring Divisions: City of Salem Public Schools, Chesterfield County Public Schools, Roanoke City Public Schools, Roanoke County Public Schools and Roanoke Valley Christian Schools
Date: June 20-22, 2011

Participants

Dr. Nel Nodding Frank Winstead

 

The twelfth annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Institute for Teaching and Learning was held June 20-22, 2011, on the Roanoke College campus.  Dr. Nel Noddings (Lee L. Jacks Professor of  Education Emerita, Stanford University) and Mr. Frank C. Winstead (former teacher, principal and Director of Educational Media, DeKalb County, Georgia Public Schools) presented keynote addresses focused on the theme, Staying the Course: Renewing the Call to Teach.  Dr. Tim Thomas, James Madison University, and Professor Katie Elmore, Roanoke College, led a general session focused on teacher renewal, and Dr. Gary Whitt, Roanoke College, served again as the Institute's resident technology instructor.  A panel of exemplary teachers offered classroom  perspectives regarding the call of teaching.

Four public school divisions and one independent school partnered with Roanoke College to sponsor the 2011 Institute.  The partners were City of Salem Public Schools, Chesterfield County Public Schools, Roanoke City Public Schools, Roanoke County Public Schools, and Roanoke Valley Christian School.  Thirty teachers and administrators represented the sponsoring schools as full-time participants. An additional 73 individuals attended based on application submissions, steering committee membership, or service as a breakout speaker.  In total, 103 individuals participated in the Institute.

The Institute was privileged to host a number of special guests, including Dr. Lorraine Lange, recipient of the ninth annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Contribution to Education Award. Breakout speakers included experts from Roanoke City Schools, Roanoke County Schools, Virginia Beach Schools, Halifax County Schools, Bridgewater College, James Madison University, Radford University and Dixie State College, Utah, as well as several Roanoke College alumni and local educational leaders.  Represented among these speakers were the 2009 and 2011 Virginia Teachers of the Year, the 2010 McGlothlin Award winner, and an individual who received the Milken National Educator Award.  The 2009 Virginia Teacher of the Year, Stephanie Doyle, and the 2010 McGlothlin Award recipient, Steven Sizemore, are Roanoke College alumni.  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 Connie Carmack, Vice President Brenda Poggendorf, Dr. Nancy Bradley, Dr. Lisa Earp, Professor Katie Elmore, Dr. Maria Stallions, and Ms. Patty Powell.  The Institute also welcomed Dr. Lisa Stoneman, 2011 interim co-director, filling in for Dr. Tim Reynolds who was recovering from surgery. 

This year's Institute attendees represented five states:  Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.  From across the state of Virginia, 16 public school divisions were represented:  Botetourt County, Buena Vista City, Chesterfield County, City of Salem, City of Virginia Beach, Colonial Beach, Craig County, Franklin County, Goochland County, Halifax County, Hampton City, Prince William County, Pulaski County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, and Spotsylvania County.  One independent school was also represented, Roanoke Valley Christian School. 

The number of 2011 full-time participants is listed below, reflecting a very slight decrease from 2010.  The 2011 numbers are reflective of the attendance the Institute has historically aimed to achieve and remain above its historical average of 98.8.

 

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Full-Time Participants

37

50

48

95

98

123

90

119

166

147

110

103


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, staff, administrators, alumni, partner school principals, session leaders, invited special guests, and area educational leaders and colleagues.

 

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Invited Guests

28

30

37

155

49

38

33

38

27

22

45

26


A continuing Institute initiative is 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.  An additional goal set for 2011 was to increase participation of pre-service teachers to 10%.  This goal was identified to strengthen the college's teacher preparation program and to align with the donor's original desire to provide students with an early explore to professional development.  Attendance across these groups is reflected in the table below.

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%

% Group:

2011

39% 23% 12.5% 5% 13.5% 7%


**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.

Reflecting on this data, we have determined the following goal for 2012:

  • Seek additional means for financially supporting the participation of pre-service teachers.  In past years, we have offered scholarships to Roanoke College student participants by utilizing the college's Student Conference Travel funds.  As of the 2010-11 academic year, however, we learned that students attending the Institute were no longer able to apply for these funds to pay for their registration fee.  Recognizing that, we were able to secure funding from the Southwest Virginia Professional Education Consortium (SWVAPEC) and the Virginia Teachers of the Year (VATOY) organization, supplemented by the Roanoke College Education Department.  These funds provided scholarships for five pre-service teachers to attend the Institute, from Hollins University (1), Radford University (1), Roanoke College (1), and Virginia Tech (2).  Two additional Roanoke College students, one serving as the Institute student assistant and the other paying her own registration fee, attended the 2011 Institute, bringing our total to seven pre-service teachers.  For 2012, we are seeking sponsorship for an additional scholarship through the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society and will again petition funds from SWVAPEC and VATOY.

Institute Events

Renewing the Call to Teach was the focus of this year's Institute.  Grounded in the scholarship of keynote speakers who build their professional work on student-centered, constructivist classroom practices, this year's program furthered the Institute's commitment to offer annual themes that build on a consistent theoretical base.

The Institute continued offerings that have been well received in the past, such as keynote addresses, question and answer sessions with a keynote speaker, technology workshops, and a variety of breakout sessions.  The Monday afternoon "tea" in the Colket Center was continued as a special event to conclude a day of interaction with Dr. Nel Noddings.  Tuesday was anchored by an energetic keynote session led by Tim Thomas and Katie Elmore, and an afternoon wine and cheese reception was held at the historic Roselawn home, once the traditional residence of Roanoke College presidents and currently the campus building that houses the offices of Admissions and Financial Aid.  On Wednesday morning, a panel of four outstanding teachers provided classroom perspectives on teaching as a calling. Panelists included Ms. Stephanie Doyle of Roanoke City Schools, Jeannie Gilpin of City of Salem Schools, Steven Sizemore of Roanoke County Schools, and Cindy Stinson of St.  Johns County Schools, Florida, offered classroom perspectives regarding the call of teaching.  Wednesday's closing luncheon address was given by Mr. Frank C. Winstead.  In the evenings, participants were invited to interact on campus and at various local sites.  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 Institute themes. Speakers for these sessions were selected from a pool of proposals submitted to the Institute faculty.  Twenty regional experts, as well as a faculty member from Dixie State College, Utah, presented on topics related to the call of teaching.

Newly featured at the 2011 Institute were Reflection and Renewal ("R and R") groups for participants.  These groups, each comprised of 6-8 participants and one group leader, met five times over the course of the Institute for 15-30 minute sessions, preceding or following keynote addresses or general sessions.  R and R groups provided participants with an opportunity to reflect on key ideas presented in addresses, consider possibilities for actualizing their learning, and work together on activities presented in sessions, such as writing letters to send to beginning teachers, retired teachers or political leaders.

At the Institute's closing luncheon on Wednesday, June 22, Dr. Lorraine Lange was honored as recipient of the ninth annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Contribution to Education Award.  The award recognized her life work as an educator in the Roanoke Valley.  Dr. Lange, an alumna of Roanoke College, began her career as an elementary school teacher.  She later served as assistant principal, principal and supervisor of language arts, and associate director of instruction.   In 2005 she was named deputy superintendent, and in 2006 was appointed as superintendent of Roanoke County Schools.  The recipient of several awards over the course of her career, Dr. Lange was most recently named State Superintendent of the Year.  She is committed to providing quality education for all students, initiating the development of the Roanoke County Schools' motto, "Learning for All - Whatever It Takes."

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 75% of MSCI 2011's full-time participants submitted evaluation forms.  This was a significant increase over the 2010 return rate (58%).  Forms were distributed at the close of the Wednesday morning panel and completed during R and R groups.  This suggests that the R and R group format is a good point of completion for the forms.  The practice will be continued in 2012.  In addition, R and R group leaders will be asked to report attendance of participants in their groups at the close of the 2012 Institute, to help determine whether participants are remaining for all Institute events or leaving prior to the final day.

Data from the 2011 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) opportunities to engage teaching colleagues with mutually respectful and beneficial discussions, 3) personal reflection on beliefs about teaching and learning, and 4) potential for implementation of knowledge and skills gained in classroom teaching.  Participant feedback included statements such as "Networking with diverse but like-minded educators is such a good way to 'renew' one's appreciation for teaching," "These sessions gave me a deeper understanding of current trends and dynamics in education," and, "My spirit has been renewed...staying in the classroom is where I need to stay."

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 4.27 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.

  • Attend to logistical concerns in dormitories (ex: availability of blankets) by continuing to communicate what is provided and what participants may want to bring.  In addition, continue to offer information regarding alternative local lodging for participants who desire to stay at off-site hotels.
  • Request that a media assistant remain in the ballroom during all keynote sessions to adjust microphone volume as needed.
  • Continue to explore opportunities for evening free time (campus tours, fitness focus on walking track, etc.).

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 4.27 or higher on a five-point scale.  Those designated with an asterisk received a score of 4.5 or higher.

At the Institute

I found the pedagogical knowledge pieces to be connected.

I found the reflection and renewal groups to be useful and effective

I feel the reflection and renewal groups should be continued in future Institutes

What I learned at the Institute

Can be used immediately in my classroom.

Has provided me with new knowledge.

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

*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.

  • Review structure and balance of R and R group content and scheduling in order to protect participant "breaks" while also offering ample opportunity for reflection and discussion.
  • Work with organizations such as VATOY and SWVAPEC to identify individuals who may serve as excellent breakout speakers.
  • Consider additional session offerings targeted for PK-12 administrators, based on the needs of our participant audience.

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 4.29 or higher on a five-point scale.  Those designated with an asterisk received a score of 4.5 or higher.

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.

I feel I have a better understanding of teaching.


Suggestions for Future Use

  • Offer a breakout session for veteran participants in which they can reflect on how MSCI and their engagement with its themes has changed their classroom practice over the course of time.
  • Offer a breakout session that introduces assessment measures/instruments which participants may use to determine how their classroom practice impacts student progress, serving as one of the multiple measures they collect annually to demonstrate student  growth.

2011 Participants Speak - Direct Quotes From Evaluation Forms

  • The Institute's speakers are impressive.  I feel as if I am coming home; I am valued and appreciated as an educator.
  • The pedagogy philosophies and curricula that are presented are helpful.  You can take the parts that fit your beliefs and personality and incorporate them into your teaching and learning.
  • The small size and access to speakers, presenters and peers makes professionalism and collegial sharing the norm.
  • I loved the R and R groups.  I found it very beneficial to discuss issues with teachers outside of my school building informally.
  • It recharged my heart!
  • Outstanding featured speakers - Nel Noddings is a national TREASURE!  From the welcome note in the dorm room to the great food and careful programming, the MSCI shows RESPECT to practitioners.  This is a welcomed change.
  • The reflection sessions were AWESOME.  I truly enjoyed them.  It gave the program a more personal touch.
  • I look forward to attending annually to renew my spirit in teaching with best practices.
  • This has been more than professional development.  It has been a much needed retreat! 

Conclusion

The Margaret Sue Copenhaver Institute continues to maintain its reputation as a distinctive venue for teacher professional development, one which honors teaching as a profession and provides participants with valuable instruction while offering personal respect.  The 2011 program offered participants the opportunity to hear from an internationally recognized scholar during keynote sessions, to consider new ideas for classroom practice in breakout sessions, and to engage in reflective discussions with colleagues during R and R group meetings.  An environment of professional camaraderie was nurtured throughout the Institute.   


Due to the national economic climate, the Institute has consistently experienced a downturn in annual income provided through the endowment.  Mrs. Helen Hanes' generous annual gift has supplemented the income and is greatly appreciated.   For 2012, the Roanoke College Business Office projects an endowment income of $20,000, while the annual Institute budget is $56,930.  As this pattern has developed over the course of the past few years, the Institute directors have actively sought supplemental resources, such as funding from sponsor school divisions, scholarships from partner organizations such as VATOY and SWVAPEC, and annual grants from the Copenhaver Scholar in Residence Program at Roanoke College.  We will continue such efforts and seek the College's ongoing support for maintaining a distinctive program which brings national attention to the College.  

As the Institute moves forward, the directors and steering committee will continue to identify keynote and breakout speakers, themes and classroom practices that engage the issues and challenges of 21st century schools.  Speakers for MSCI 2012 and 2013 are identified and confirmed.  Strategies will also be considered for attracting a broad and diverse pool of participants.  Additionally, the Institute will continue to focus on ways to support teachers' ongoing efforts to impact, measure and demonstrate the growth of K-12 students.  

Respectfully submitted,

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