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2020 Charles Butt Scholar Virtual Conference Recap

On Saturday, May 30, the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation hosted the 2020 Charles Butt Scholar Virtual Conference. 

The virtual conference provided an opportunity for Charles Butt Scholars and Scholar Alumni to come together, learn, be inspired, and celebrate the teaching profession. The conference theme was 2020: Texans for All, which emphasized what makes Texas public education special — we are for all.

Our theme, 2020: Texans for All, emphasized what makes Texas public education special — we are for all.
All teachers.
All families.
All school leaders. 
All
communities.

We are Texans for all futures.
Because the future of Texas is in our public schools.

The day began with a keynote address from Erika Carter, the principal at Key Middle School in Houston ISD. Erika personally understands the importance of Texas educators working together to ensure a quality education for all students. Her campus is located in the Kashmere Gardens Neighborhood in Houston’s Fifth Ward. She herself grew up in the neighborhood and shared with attendees the importance of public education as a building block of equity from first-hand experiences as a teacher and principal.

Following the keynote address, Jose Parra Anzana — 3rd Grade Teacher, Grand Prairie ISD, Kenia Reyes – Kindergarten Teacher, Fort Bend ISD, and Rachel Omerza — 9th Grade Biology Teacher, Alvin ISD, three Charles Butt Scholar Alumni, discussed their first year in the classroom during the “Views From The Field” panel. They shared their success and challenges, as well as things they wish they knew before they began teaching.

Jose Parra-Anzana

Jose Parra-Anzana

Jose Parra-Anzana

Kenia Reyes

Kenia Reyes

Kenia Reyes

Rachel Omerza

Rachel Omerza

Rachel Omerza

The morning transitioned into community-building sessions which provided Scholar cohorts at each university the opportunity to meet and get to know one another and to meet their university-based scholarship coordinator. The afternoon included 12 workshops with topics ranging from advocacy to leadership to diversity and inclusion. A full list of workshops including descriptions, presenters, and a link to watch a recording of the sessions is included below.

The virtual conference concluded with a special tribute to the Scholars who are part of the 2020 graduating class and will be entering the classroom next year. Raise Your Texas President, Dr. Shari Albright delivered an inspirational closing commencement address and acknowledged each graduate who joined the ranks of Charles Butt Scholar alumni.

 Alice Walker, a Pulitzer prize-winning author, said, ‘To the extent that it is possible, you must live in the world today as you wish everyone to live in the world to come.’ You will be creating the world to come through your teaching, through your modeling, and through the powerful knowledge, skills, and experiences that you’ll design for students. Do not underestimate that – reshaping education is reshaping the world, and you are entering the power position in that work.” Dr. Shari Albright

While we hoped to have the annual Scholars Symposium later this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has made that possibility unlikely. Be on the lookout for additional learning opportunities over the summer. We look forward to seeing you next spring!

Breakout Sessions

*Charles Butt Scholars and Scholar Alumni, please check your email for the password for all of the sessions.

Advocacy 101

What is Advocacy? Can teachers advocate? Should they? What does it look like? In this session, we showed you the most simple to the most sophisticated ways that teachers can advocate at the local, state, and federal levels. Attendees left with a list of 50+ specific advocacy ideas to choose from.

Missy Bender

Missy Bender

JoLisa Hoover, M.ED.

JoLisa Hoover, M.ED.

Beyond Parental Involvement

Parental involvement has been highly valued in public schools but is it equitable? Do we recognize the value in all families and seek to partner with them equally? Are we seeking to involve parents or engage with them? Drawing from “Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships”, a publication of SEDL in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, this session helped build and enhance capacity of school staff and families so that families, regardless of their racial or ethnic identity, educational background, gender, disability, or socioeconomic status, are prepared to engage with schools with equity.

Beyond Parental Involvement

Parental involvement has been highly valued in public schools but is it equitable? Do we recognize the value in all families and seek to partner with them equally? Are we seeking to involve parents or engage with them? Drawing from “Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships”, a publication of SEDL in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, this session helped build and enhance capacity of school staff and families so that families, regardless of their racial or ethnic identity, educational background, gender, disability, or socioeconomic status, are prepared to engage with schools with equity.

JoLisa Hoover, M.ED.

JoLisa Hoover, M.ED.

Classroom Management in a School Building or Virtually

Coming from a diverse background of educator and educational leadership experience ranging from PreK-16, yet still remembering clearly those first day jitters, this session shared tips and tricks on successfully managing a classroom, wherever that may be.

Keri Launius, Ed.D.

Keri Launius, Ed.D.

Wayne Morren

Wayne Morren

Diversity and Opportunity Through Inclusion

In this session, we explored the complexities of an increasingly diverse classroom and school environment. Participants learned and discussed how to embrace diversity and inclusion to enhance student outcomes.

Tom Kelchner, Ed.D.

Tom Kelchner, Ed.D.

Tom Kelchner, Ed.D.

Tom Kelchner, Ed.D.

Diversity and Opportunity Through Inclusion

In this session, we explored the complexities of an increasingly diverse classroom and school environment. Participants learned and discussed how to embrace diversity and inclusion to enhance student outcomes.

Grassroots and the classroom

In this section, we brainstormed and developed ways to spiral civic engagement and advocacy into our daily campus lives.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall

Living Stress Free in a Stressful Time

“You must put on your mask before assisting the passenger next to you…” New and experienced teachers alike are prone to health issues and sickness. The combination of student germs and a demanding career compound this fact. This session focused on Self-care solutions to support the health and wellness of YOU as a teacher. Participants left with practical tips and tools (apps, products, etc.) for making your Social-Emotional Health a priority. A healthy classroom starts with a healthy YOU!

Lakisha Culpepper

Lakisha Culpepper

Lakisha Culpepper

Lakisha Culpepper

Living Stress Free in a Stressful Time

“You must put on your mask before assisting the passenger next to you…” New and experienced teachers alike are prone to health issues and sickness. The combination of student germs and a demanding career compound this fact. This session focused on Self-care solutions to support the health and wellness of YOU as a teacher. Participants left with practical tips and tools (apps, products, etc.) for making your Social-Emotional Health a priority. A healthy classroom starts with a healthy YOU!

Racial Equity 101

In this session, we learned how to sharpen our racial equity lens, acknowledge our own bias, and have conversations about race that will lead to equitable classrooms and systems for all.

Cassandra Jones

Cassandra Jones

The SPED High-Five: Five things to consider as a general education teacher serving students receiving special education services

We discussed key elements of an IEP, collaboration strategies with the special education teacher, parental communication, and quick behavior tips.

Dr. Melissa Fogarty

Dr. Melissa Fogarty

Dr. Melissa Fogarty

Dr. Melissa Fogarty

The SPED High-Five: Five things to consider as a general education teacher serving students receiving special education services

We discussed key elements of an IEP, collaboration strategies with the special education teacher, parental communication, and quick behavior tips.

Teacher Leadership

School Transformation and Instructional Change are common topics in almost all school systems across the country. In this session, we discussed what “Teacher Leadership” is by definition and what it looks like for teachers, both on a campus and in a school district. We also discussed how teachers can impact positive systematic change and just how critical their leadership is to transforming education and improving instruction.

Todd Schneider, M.ED.

Todd Schneider, M.ED.

Texas Postsecondary Readiness

The future of Texas depends on a majority of its residents getting some form of postsecondary credential. Why? Because it boosts our state’s know-how and resourcefulness and helps build a more productive workforce. Plus, a more educated workforce leads to innovation and expansion and more economic opportunities. This session helped participants understand the important role they will play in helping Texas achieve its desired workforce and educational goals by 2030.

Tomás Sigala Jr., Ed.D.

Tomás Sigala Jr., Ed.D.

Tomás Sigala Jr., Ed.D.

Tomás Sigala Jr., Ed.D.

Texas Postsecondary Readiness

The future of Texas depends on a majority of its residents getting some form of postsecondary credential. Why? Because it boosts our state’s know-how and resourcefulness and helps build a more productive workforce. Plus, a more educated workforce leads to innovation and expansion and more economic opportunities. This session helped participants understand the important role they will play in helping Texas achieve its desired workforce and educational goals by 2030.

What teachers of English learners can do to impact student growth

Participants learned instructional practices to make content comprehensible to English learners.

Dr. Alicia J. Bolt

Dr. Alicia J. Bolt

What the Wolves can Teach us about Community

Utilizing the “Wolves change rivers” video, this session discussed strategies and created tools to create a productive, inclusive classroom climate and culture.

Christine Lowak

Christine Lowak

Christine Lowak

Christine Lowak

What the Wolves can Teach us about Community

Utilizing the “Wolves change rivers” video, this session discussed strategies and created tools to create a productive, inclusive classroom climate and culture.

We are for all