Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy staff attend conference with First Lady Laura Bush


Special to Leader-Press

DALLAS, TX —Several teachers and various staff from Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy got an education on early learning teaching techniques and got to rub elbows in the process with the former First Lady of the United States.

Five pre-kindergarten teachers, the counselor, the coordinator of early education and the principal attended the Splash Conference in Dallas sponsored by Frog Street. CCISD employees were offered professional development on a variety of early learning education topics. Teacher Robin Petet said the conference was an amazing experience for early childhood educators.

“From literacy and math activities, behavior management tips to new technology ideas, I gathered information that will help me in every part of my school day,” Petet said. “The best part for me was meeting teachers from all over the United States and sharing ideas and our passion for early childhood education.”

School Counselor Cathy Boone also found a variety of sessions suited to support her work with students at Mae Stevens.

“I enjoyed and will use my session on combining yoga with literature, the knowledge I gained about the function of the brain and how it works with Conscious Discipline, and the character education program featuring Pete, the Dog,” she said.

The final keynote speaker for the conference was former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush. She delivered a message on the importance of early literacy development. Prior to her speech, Jo Ann Griffin, coordinator of early education, and Principal Mary Derrick had the opportunity to chat with Bush.

“It was a great honor to meet the former First Lady,” Derrick said. “She is as genuine and personable in person as she appears on TV.” 

Teachers Becki Cooper and Kris Cox said the conference allowed them to hone their skills at providing differentiated instruction and have a joyful approach to learning.

“It provided educators with research based ideas in a playful environment which in turn, allows us to provide our students the same,” Cooper said.

“We were shown many ways to have planned play with a purpose in our classrooms,” Cox said.

Griffin who oversees curriculum at the premier Pre-K school said she is already seeing the teachers implement what they learned at the conference.

“We all gained a lot of information and were able to come back to the district and share what we learned with the teachers who were not able to go,” Griffin said. “I have enjoyed watching the teachers incorporate ideas and techniques they gathered from the conference in their classrooms.” 

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