Teachers Participate in Statewide Summit at Simpson University
For Immediate Release
REDDING, Calif. - About 120 North State teachers were among 10,000 educators who participated in the third annual Better Together: California Teachers Summit, a free day of learning led by teachers, for teachers. Simpson University served as one of the host sites for this year’s summit, which took place at 35 locations across the state.
"We were delighted to host the Better Together Summit on our campus, as it's a great kick-off event for the beginning of the new school year,” said Dr. Craig Cook, dean of Simpson’s School of Education. “Our aim in the School of Education is to provide for the ongoing professional development needs of the teachers in our community and in the North State at large."
He noted the July 28 event was attended by many of the School of Education’s 3,000-plus alumni.
“We will continue to do all that we can to bolster these collegial partnerships from around the state," he said.
During the summit, Dr. Jill Biden, a lifelong educator and the wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, delivered the keynote address at Saint Mary’s in Moraga, which was livestreamed to all the sites. Dr. Biden, who has taught at community colleges, a public high school and a psychiatric hospital for adolescents, shared valuable insights from her 30-year teaching career.
This year’s theme, “Now More Than Ever,” reflected the importance of bringing teachers together to share ways to empower California students, protect their values as educators and set an example for the nation.
At Simpson University, the following local teachers shared in a joint TED-style EdTalk on the theme of what students need “Now More Than Ever,” touching on topics of kindness, empathy, gratitude, and mindfulness:
- Marissa Fuller, a Simpson University graduate who has been teaching in the Enterprise Elementary School District since 2014.
- Holly Occhipinti, a Holy Names University graduate who has taught third through seventh grades in the Bay Area and teaches a 4/5 combination class at Bonny View Elementary in Redding.
- Cynthia Jones, a Simpson University graduate who is entering her second year of teaching second grade at Big Springs Elementary School in Montague.
- Kathy Villa, a graduate of Cal Poly in Pomona teaching at Rother Elementary who is in her 34th year of education, 14 of them in administration.
A second EdTalk featured Michelle Nicolls, a California State University, Chico, graduate who teaches first grade at Black Butte Elementary School in Shingletown. Nicolls, who has been in education since 1984, spoke on “Restorative Communication Skills for At-Risk Students.”
Each summit location also included Edcamp discussions on teacher-selected topics. At Simpson University, summit participants chose topics that included survival strategies for new teachers, Google apps, math strategies, special education, and more.
The Summit format is designed to facilitate a spirit of peer learning and collaboration. Teachers walked away with access to new resources and concrete tools that are already transforming classrooms across the state.
“By investing in teachers, we are investing in our current and our future students,” said Loren Blanchard, executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at CSU. “Participants gain strategies, tools and resources for helping every student meet their full potential.”
The California Teachers Summit is the result of a unique partnership between the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), the California State University (CSU) and New Teacher Center.
Plans are under way for the fourth annual Summit, which will take place on July 27, 2018. During the event, the organizers announced next year’s theme, “It’s Personal: Meeting the Needs of All Students,” which reflects the importance of personalized learning.
Simpson University graduate and first-grade teacher Marissa Fuller gives an EdTalk on empathy in the classroom during the July 28 Better Together: California Teachers Summit. Simpson University was one of 35 host sites across the state for this free day of learning and networking. / Photo by Sarah Bradshaw
Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.
Contact: Cherlyn Chairez
Simpson University School of Education