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CSUF Hosts July 31 Teachers Summit

California Teachers to Gather for Day of Learning and Sharing
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NEW: Keynote speakers for the July 31 “Better Together: California Teachers Summit” are Yvette Nicole Brown and Leland Melvin.

Brown is best known for her role on NBC’s “Community” and has partnered with Stephen Colbert on an initiative to fund education projects in South Carolina. Melvin, a football player-turned-NASA astronaut, has served as co-chair of the White House task force charged with developing the nation’s five-year STEM education plan. Their talks will be telecast to all host sites.

Cal State Fullerton is among 33 statewide sites hosting “Better Together: California Teachers Summit,” a free day of learning for educators Friday, July 31.

More than 14,500 preschool-12th-grade teachers, teacher candidates and educational leaders are expected to gather at sites throughout California, including about 1,300 participants at CSUF. Together, they will share innovative strategies, effective resources and tools to implement the California Standards.

The first-of-its kind statewide event is supported by $1.25 million to Cal State Fullerton — from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Claire C. Cavallaro, dean of CSUF’s College of Education, leads the California State University effort.

The 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. event in Titan Gymnasium will feature “Ed Talks” presented by three Orange County teachers, who will offer their perspectives on success with the implementation of California Standards. There also will be “Edcamp” sessions, where participants create their own agenda of topics to be discussed.

CSUF’s Ed Talk speakers are:

  • Allison Carey, a high school teacher with the Orange County Department of Education’s ACCESS (Alternative, Community and Correctional Schools and Services) program;
  • Desiree Olivas, who teaches third grade at Garfield Elementary School in the Santa Ana Unified School District; and
  • Richard Torres, a sixth-grade teacher at Cambridge Elementary School in the Orange Unified School District.


Carey will share her educational philosophy of actuality, potentiality and hope to encourage teachers to “revisit their own indelible philosophy.” Olivas, a 27-year teacher and recipient of her district’s 2015 Elementary Educator of the Year award, will talk about how she effectively teaches elementary mathematics, based on new state learning standards.

Torres, a CSUF alumnus who earned his bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in education-educational administration, will describe his experience teaching a unit on “resilience.”

“I will communicate that the new state standards allow educators to teach to the child, not a curriculum,” said Torres, a 17-year educator. “I want teachers to understand and embrace the freedom they now have — that they aren’t tied to a literature, science, social studies or math book, but that they can provide instruction that is meaningful over a lifelong experience. Teachers can guide students on a journey to understand themselves, while still adhering to curricular standards.”

The Edcamp sessions from 10 a.m. to noon are unlike traditional conference workshops because they are participant-driven and participant-led, explained Hallie Yopp Slowik, professor of elementary and bilingual education. Yopp Slowik and Mark Ellis, professor of secondary education, are organizing the campus program.

“Teachers will drive the agenda based on their interests, experiences and expertise. They will discuss issues that matter most to them. Teachers will connect with, learn from and share with one another,” Yopp Slowik said.

Attendees will split into groups based on the topics and attend two, 45-minute sessions, facilitated by 40 local teachers, in classrooms across campus.

“The Teachers Summit will be a worthwhile day for educators who will have many opportunities to interact with colleagues and share the extraordinary learning experiences they offer students in the region,” Yopp Slowik said.

The day concludes with a 2:45-3:30 p.m. networking session. For more information or to register, visit online.  

Media Contacts:

Claire C. Cavallaro, College of Education, 657-278-4021
Debra Cano Ramos