Our fifth edition of Summer Spark was our best professional development conference yet, based on the attendance, feedback, and overall feel at the two day symposium. USM hosted more than 240 attendees from all across the United States, creating a powerful environment of innovative and collaborative educators.
International presenter Angela Maiers opened the show with her message of "You Matter", setting the stage for a fantastic environment of personalized learning and collaboration for educators. Author and national speaker (and Fall Creek Schools Superintendent) Joe Sanfelippo opened the second day with the most enthusiastic and engaging presentation of all five years, leading the audience to laugh, cry, and grow (all in 60 minutes!). Deanna Singh brought her message of "Purposeful Hustle" to close Spark on Tuesday, giving attendees a change to take their learning and go to the next level with their students and themselves.
Our featured speakers included USM's very own Michael Matera, regional tech guru Jon Spike, and author/educators Mandy Froelich and Tina Richmond. Summer Spark also featured a one-day Preschool Spark with speakers Tom Hobson and Diane Kashin, which was attended by more than 30 preschool educators. OnEducation, a popular podcast with thousands of listeners broadcast from Summer Spark for two days, providing interviews with speakers and attendees. We also included a "Sparkles" session with an open house format of sharing great pedagogical ideas... and birthday cake! Add in more than 50 breakout sessions and workshops, and it was a fantastic two days of professional development.
What did attendees say about the event? Here's just a smattering of feedback from our conference survey. You can also read many of the tweets
"Summer Spark gets educators motivated. Whenever I leave, I am refreshed and energized to make this school year the best one yet!"
"I love the positive and upbeat energy that was felt throughout the two days. Keynotes were motivational and reignited a reminder of why we do what we do."
"Connecting with other great educators in a smaller setting is so powerful. There are always more enticing sessions than what I can get to. I'm thankful that many presenters generously share their resources."
"This is the most well-run conference I have ever attended. It's so organized, not too over-crowded, but more importantly beneficial. There is such a range of sessions with a variety of topics and the keynote speakers leave me inspired and hungry to try out their ideas next school year."
"I love the energy and passion of all the educators who attend the conference. It really does re-energize you and motivate you to keep working on your game."
"We can't help our students until we help ourselves. This conference is a way to help each other grow."