Around 1,500 teachers and principals were in Des Moines Monday to talk about improving education in Iowa’s high schools. Warren Weber, a consultant with the Iowa Department of Education, says the 4th Annual High School Summit is primarily a networking event.
Weber explains, "What we try to do is bring together schools that have had some success with what they’ve done – different aspects of either curriculum, instruction, student support – and share that." The two-day summit is scheduled to continue today, although many of the educators planned to leave Des Moines on Monday because of the approaching winter storm. Many high school teachers that have improved their students’ performance have implemented strategies through their local Area Education Agency.
"Schools are invited to come to those (AEA) sessions," Weber says, "where they can do the planning and do the review of their data." He says the sessions are "team focused," involving teachers from a variety of subject areas.
Weber says, too often, high schools can "isolate" teachers into their subject area, "but with the (team) focus, it brings it together as a school building, if not a school district…and that is much more effect and has a bigger impact."
The first Iowa High School Summit was organized in 2004 with small bit of grant money. Weber says they anticipated 600 people – when 1,400 people attended the first conference, "And it was like, ‘holy cow, where did this come from?’ And it’s been that way ever since."