This past July, nine Laurel Mountain Elementary educators had the opportunity to join more than 600 educators from across the US and fifteen countries at Confratute, a week long program at the University of Connecticut that provides educators with research-based practical strategies for engagement and enrichment learning for all students. Attending this past summer:
Mrs. Lucy Castro, 5th grade teacher
Mrs. Melissa Hein, 5th grade teacher
Mr. Trevor Hance, 4th grade teacher
Ms. Kate Fredrickson, 3rd grade teacher
Ms. Jessica Lofaro, 2nd grade teacher
Mrs. Charlotte Justice, Counselor
Mrs. Nicole Levitan, Enrichment Coordinator
Mrs. Johanna Kelley, Assistant Principal
Mrs. Jan Richards, Principal
For the past 35 years, Storrs, Connecticut, has attracted more than 20,000 educators worldwide for this highly acclaimed, enrichment-based program sponsored by the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. It blends educators interested in gifted education, differentiation of instruction and curriculum, and creativity and innovation in education.
Confratute started in 1978, when Dr. Joseph Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis decided that they wanted to host a summer conference focused on Enrichment Teaching and Learning. They didn't want it to be just any conference, though. They wanted to combine the best qualities of a CONference with a summer instiTUTE and add a whole lot of FRAternity in between.
This summer, Confratute offered a jam-packed schedule of events to engage, inspire and rejuvenate educators. Some of the sessions our staff attended included Math for Those Who Think They Can’t Do Math; Storytelling, Mime and Movement; Silk Screen Printing; Enrichment Clusters-Advanced; The Kaplan Depth and Complexity Model; Fun and Friendly Algebra and numerous other sessions. Mrs. Levitan presented a Special Topic Session titled “Building SEM Brick by Brick”. She was proud to share Laurel Mountain’s successes and challenges implementing and sustaining SEM.
For the first time, Confratute hosted the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) Leaders Forum, an intensive week for principals who are interested in school change using a philosophy of Enrichment Learning and Teaching. Mrs. Richards attended the SEM Leaders Forum and was able to share her experiences. Just as important, she learned from other principals and leaders from around the country on how they have implemented SEM at their schools.
Through exposure to differentiation, talent development and enriching learning experiences, the community of adult learners at Confratute are able to share similar interests, as well as foster professional growth. All of our staff members returned to Austin energized, excited and ready to enrich the lives of our students at Laurel Mountain Elementary to ensure that we are developing the whole child for a lifetime of success.