‘America’s Educator,’ Innovation Author, NASA Educator Headline Southeast’s CORE Academy


CoreAcademySpeakersSoutheast Missouri State University’s College of Education will host a Collaborative Regional Education (CORE) Academy conference June 20-21 with a lineup of nationally-recognized speakers, influential alumni and educators, and ground-breaking learning sessions to help teachers in the southeast Missouri region infuse STEM with classroom tech tools and prepare to educate their students on the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.

The “Next Generation Teaching and Learning Conference” will feature keynote speakers, including 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year and author Ron Clark, and influential educator and author George Couros. Southeast alumna Kaci Heins, education supervisor with the Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center for the NASA Johnson Space Center and teacher liaison for The Space Foundation, will help lead a learning strand on tools and programs for the upcoming total solar eclipse.

“CORE Academy provides amazing professional development opportunities for using technology in education,” said Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of Southeast’s College of Education. “This is a unique experience for current and future educators to learn from nationally-renowned guest speakers, and to interact and share their knowledge in the pursuit of classroom and academic success.”

During the conference, attendees can participate in beginning and advance level learning strands covering ways to infuse STEM with classroom tech tools. Information will also be available for administrators and school leaders who want to lead and design their own initiatives for their schools and districts, from techniques for launching tech tools across multiple schools to collaborating with higher education institutions.

One of the most relevant programs will be the SEclipse learning strand, where educators will have the chance to learn how to design and build a payload for a high-altitude balloon, said Rogers-Adkinson.

Kaci Heins

Kaci Heins

“This unique session will help educators infuse eclipse education into their classrooms,” she said. “We are fortunate to have Kaci’s extensive knowledge and expertise to lead our regional educators through the process of how to bring hands-on space-related activities to their students.”

On Aug. 21, the United States will see a total solar eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina. Cape Girardeau is in this path and will experience totality (darkness as the moon passes in front of the sun) for one minute and 45 seconds starting at 1:20:21 PM (CDT). The University is coordinating eclipse events, which will include hosting local schools to experience the phenomenon.

Educators who participate in the conference’s SEclipse learning strand will be given the opportunity to return with their students to the University on Aug. 21 and build two scientific payloads and balloons to be launched shortly before the total eclipse from Houck Stadium. Heins will lead the SEclipse learning strand and high-altitude balloon launches on Aug. 21.

To register for the SEclipse learning strand, email Stephanie Kuper at skuper@semo.edu.

In addition to the SEclipse learning strand, a number of other programs, and discussions have been planned for the conference. They include:

Tuesday, June 20:

Ron Clark

Ron Clark

Ron Clark, 10:20-11:30 a.m., Glenn Auditorium, Dempster Hall

Known to many as “America’s Educator,” Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, a two-time New York Times Bestselling author, the subject of a television movie “The Ron Clark Story” and the founder of The Ron Clark Academy. He is regularly featured on network and cable television (The Today Show, CNN and Oprah,) and was dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as her first “Phenomenal Man.”

Clark brings charisma, energy and devotion to the education profession. He pioneered innovative projects in rural North Carolina working with minority students in a low wealth area. His highly effective programs garnered national attention and led to a White House invitation to be honored by the President of the United States.

Clark shares the uncanny adventures he has had in the classroom and speaks of his experiences teaching in Harlem. Within his humorous and heartwarming stories, he delivers a message relevant to everyone. It is a message of hope, dedication and the never-say-never attitude required to achieve goals and dreams.

A book signing session will follow his keynote address.

Innovation Panel, 3:45-5 p.m., Glenn Auditorium, Dempster Hall

The Innovation Panel is an opportunity to hear about schools breaking away from the traditional way of teaching and will feature Delta School of Wilson, Arkansas.

CORE Academy Reception, 5-7 p.m., Dempster Atrium, Dempster Hall

Participants are invited to an evening reception following the first day of events. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available. The reception also features the awarding of door prizes and entertainment provided by the Cape Central High School Orchestra.

Wednesday, June 21:

George Curous

George Curous

George Couros, 9-10:15 a.m., Glenn Auditorium, Dempster Hall

George Couros is the division principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division and an innovative leadership consultant. He has worked with all levels of school from kindergarten-12th grade as a teacher, technology facilitator and school-based administrator. He will discuss innovative student learning and engagement and has worked with schools and organizations worldwide. He is also the creator of Connected Principals and the founder of Connected Canada as well as the School Admin Virtual Mentor Program (#SAVMP). His focus is to help organizations create optimal learning environments for innovation within schools.

Although Couros is a leader in the area of innovation, his focus is always the development of leadership and people, and what is best for kids. He uses humor as a way to connect with all of those with whom he works. His presentations are known to be informative and entertaining, and create an emotional connection that helps people move to the next level. His mix of research, personal stories and practical ways to implement new learning help participants feel comfortable in taking risks in their own learning.

Innovation Luncheon and Q&A Session, Noon-1 p.m., Glenn Auditorium, Dempster Hall

All participants are invited to the Innovation Luncheon. Representatives from Delta School of Wilson, Arkansas, will attend the luncheon for an additional question-and-answer session in continuation of the Innovation Panel.

Networking Event 3:30-5 p.m., Scully Building

This networking event is an opportunity for school teams to discuss events, programs and information from the conference. To reserve a space for your team, contact Stephanie Kuper at skuper@semo.edu.

Breakout Learning Strand Sessions, Various Times, Scully Building

Local area educators are invited to present and share their knowledge, experience and expertise during the breakout learning strand sessions. Proposals that show a passion for education, active learning and student engagement are currently being accepted at http://www.semo.edu/rpdc/core-presenter-proposal.html.

Learning Strand 1: Novice Technology Users +STEM

This strand will feature breakout sessions for educators who are beginning to implement technology and STEM activities in their classrooms. Discussion topics include an overview of available applications, how to use various applications such as Google Apps in instruction, and many more.

Learning Strand 2: Advanced Technology Users +STEM

This strand will feature breakout sessions for educators who have been implementing technology and STEM activities and want to take their teachings to the next level. Discussion topics include implementing virtual reality techniques in teaching, using Google Forms for interactive assessments, and many more.

Learning Strand 3: Leadership to Support Systematic Integration

This strand will feature breakout sessions for current or future administrators (principals or superintendents) who have or will have a leadership role in a school or district that is implementing technology and STEM activities in the classroom. Discussion topics include the importance of providing professional development, being the leader of change, evaluating an innovative classroom, and many more.

SEclipse LogoLearning Strand 4: SEclipse – Southeast Missouri Solar Eclipse Event Integration

 The SEclipse launch event is limited to just 25 educators who will receive classroom supplies, curriculum materials, and more. Educators in this strand are required to participate in breakout session during both days of the conference. Buses to return to Southeast Aug. 21 and materials will only be provided for schools not in the totality of the eclipse.

The SEclipse learning strand and high-altitude balloon launches on Aug. 21 will be led by Heins, She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, elementary education, with an emphasis in science, and a Master of Arts in secondary education with an emphasis in technology from Southeast. In 2010, she attended Honeywell’s Space Academy for Educators, a space camp for teachers. Among her accomplishments, Heins was named the 2014 Air Force Association National Aerospace Teacher of the Year and was a 2015 recipient of Southeast Missouri State University’s Young Alumni Merit Award. Heins has taught science at several schools in Flagstaff, Arizona, including at Pathways to Education Acceleration for Kids (PEAK) School, Mount Elden Middle School and Northland Preparatory Academy.

Conference registration is open to pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, educators and administrators at http://www.semo.edu/rpdc/coreacademy.html.

For more information, email Stephanie Kuper at skuper@semo.edu.