SF State set to co-host third annual California Teachers Summit

A billboard full of colorful Post-It notes with ideas for best-practices was used at last year's California Teachers Summit.

Teachers at the 2016 California Teachers Summit used Post-It notes during a brainstorming session.

Jill Biden to give live-streamed keynote to pre-K-12 teachers around the state

Thousands of teachers will gather at San Francisco State University and other locations across California on July 28 for the third annual Better Together: California Teachers Summit, a free statewide day of learning and networking that is open to all California pre-K-12 teachers, teacher candidates, school administrators and other educators. One of 35 locations across the state, SF State has invited Bay Area teachers to share ideas and join a teacher network.

“Better Together brings thousands of teachers together at college campuses throughout California for a day of rejuvenation and sharing resources to enhance their classroom teaching,” said Nancy Robinson, the chair of SF State’s Graduate College of Education. “At San Francisco State, we will feature local education leaders and link to statewide presentations to highlight the critical role of educators to transform lives. We are thrilled this year to welcome teachers in the Bay Area and beyond to participate in this unique professional development opportunity.”

Jill Biden, a lifelong educator and former second lady of the United States will provide the keynote address, which will be live-streamed from the event headquarters to all 35 sites. The daylong summit at SF State will also include two TED-style EdTalks, one of which will be given by Jacob Aringo (B.S. ’03, M.A. ’15), a middle school teacher in San Francisco who has been working to integrate gamification principles to motivate students to learn in the science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) fields.

“He’s doing a lot of innovative things. He’s one of the stars in the STEAM area in the San Francisco Unified School District, and STEAM is an area that teachers want to hear more about,” said Eurania Isabel Lopez, who is coordinating SF State’s summit.

About 280 teachers are expected to attend — around the same number as last year’s event, said Lopez, the director of the Student Resource Center at SF State’s Graduate College of Education.

“Even though I’ve been in education for about 12 years, I definitely picked up some new strategies that I can use with my English language learners,” said Luis Novoa, a fourth grade Spanish immersion teacher at Marshall Elementary School in San Francisco. “And I really liked the informal structure. Everybody was just free to talk about what they wanted to. We all shared and felt comfortable with that. Collaboration is always great as a teacher. Love that.”

The other EdTalk will be given by Palo Alto High School teacher David Cohen, who helped launch and co-directed a teacher leadership network called Accomplished California Teachers. He spent the 2014-2015 school year traveling around the state to gather material for his book “Capturing the Spark: Inspired Teaching, Thriving Schools.” He also writes a regular blog for EdWeek.

“Anytime you get teachers together and allow some opportunity for open-ended interaction, I think that’s going to be really valuable,” Cohen said. “It’s important for teachers to know each other and learn from one another across district boundaries.”

San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Anne Campbell will speak earlier in the day, just before Biden’s keynote.

The theme for this year’s summit is “Now More Than Ever,” which reflects the importance of bringing teachers together. In addition to SF State, summit locations in the Bay Area include California State University-Monterey Bay, Santa Clara University, California State University-East Bay, Sonoma State University and Saint Mary’s College of California.