Over 250 educators from 18 states (and Canada!) joined in two days of innovating, creating, collaborating, and connecting at Summer Spark 18. The opening keynote, Tom Murray, spoke about making our schools “future ready” and inspired every participant with his positive message on the teaching profession. On the second day, Sylvia Martinez shared the message of the maker movement, pushing attendees to open up schools for creation. The conference also featured two special focus groups: a keynote session and workshop on cultural competency from Sharroky Hollie, and a series of discussion on leadership from Heidi Kasevich. Additional featured speakers pushed participants to explore gamification and technology integration, be "R.E.A.L." with their students and families, help students analyze the media, and thrive as a teacher and leader. In all, over 90 sessions and workshops were offered, providing personalized professional development for teachers and administrators of all subjects, all schools, and all ages.
In addition, attendees competed in a game of virtual Goose Chase, enjoyed a challenging Pub Trivia experience, created superhero teachers, and shared their own ideas and experiences at our "Hot Topic" lunch. The conversation continued online via social media, and people from across the globe commented on how they were learning virtually through the #USMSpark hashtag. Summer Spark 18 was a great way to open the summer and set the stage for the best school year ever!