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Up to 700 teachers expected at CMSD conference




Up to 700 CMSD teachers will gather next week for a four-day conference on ways to better engage their students in the new school year.

The second annual BLUE Institute -- (BLUE stands for Build, Lead, Utilize and Engage) will open on the same day that four year-round high schools begin a staggered start to the CMSD school year. The teachers who attend can choose daily from 88 presentations spanning 22 rooms at Cuyahoga Community College’s Corporate College East in Warrensville Heights.

A prominent speaker will appear each day, in keeping with the organizers’ goal of bringing the equivalent of a national conference to the teachers’ doorstep.

Greg Walker, Midwestern vice president for the College Board, will give an opening address on Monday. The College Board works to increase access to higher education.

“We wanted to start with the end in mind,” said Karen Thompson, CMSD’s deputy chief of curriculum and instruction. “So we started with career and college readiness because that’s our ultimate goal.”

Other speakers include Karen Mapp, whose research focuses on family engagement and home-school partnerships; Dr. Michael Rozien, a Cleveland Clinic expert in wellness, an emphasis in CMSD schools; and Samuel Bentances, a diversity consultant who will talk about reaching all students. (Watch Samuel Bentances on YouTube.)

The number of teachers registered for the conference represents about a fourth of CMSD’s faculty. The group includes 220 of more than 300 teachers who will be new to the District this year.
CMSD teachers will attend for free. In what could be the first step toward making the conference a regional draw, the Warrensville Heights schools will send 10 teachers at a fee of $75 per day.

More than a dozen sponsors have as a group provided $80,000 in support for the conference. The dollar amount is double last year’s total.
Each participant will be given, to keep, a MOVband, a physical-activity monitor that also will be used during the conference to send them messages. They also will receive stadium blankets, courtesy of the Cleveland Browns.