2014 Mega Conference
The 2014 Mega
Conference, Making Connections – Linking Instruction to Student Success,
will be held April 4 – 6, 2014 in Stateline, Nevada and will offer quality
professional development on how to provide effective instruction using innovative
practices in the classroom and school setting.
In addition to thought
provoking keynote presentations, breakout sessions will be offered that focus
on featured topic areas including: Connecting Curriculum from Early Childhood
through College and Careers, Aligning Assessment with Common Core Standards,
Linking Student Learning through Technology, Connecting Educators to Practices
that Work in Successful Schools and Linking Instruction for Diverse Learners to
Educational Success. Presenters will include educators from across the
state and the nation, including the renowned International Center for
Leadership in Education (ICLE). Mark your calendar for this incredible
opportunity, made possible through the collaboration of the Nevada Department
of Education, the University of Nevada, Reno, and ICLE.
The 2014 Mega Conference
will be held at Harvey’s Hotel & Casino, Lake Tahoe. A block of rooms has
been set aside for the conference at the special rate of $89.00/night on
Thursday and Friday, and $129/night on Saturday.
You may book your room
anytime by calling (800) 455-4770 and reference the Mega Conference using the
code S04MGC4. You may also click on the following link to reserve online:
Room Reservations. The room block cutoff
is March 4, 2014.
registration is now open. Please register online here: Mega
Registration fees are $100 per person for Participants, $400 per
table for Vendors.
Erin Gruwell, Educator & Catalyst for Social Change
Erin Gruwell has earned
an award-winning reputation for her steadfast commitment to the future of
education. Her impact as a change agent runs deep. So deep, in fact, that her
story attracted Hollywood’s attention. In January 2007, Paramount Pictures
released Freedom Writers, starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as
Gruwell. The film is based on The Freedom Writers Diary, The New York Times
bestseller that chronicled Gruwell’s extraordinary journey with 150 high school
students who had been written off by the education system.
By fostering an
educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, she transformed her
students’ lives. She encouraged them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves
and others, reconsider daily decisions, and ultimately re-chart their futures.
With Gruwell’s support, they chose to forego teenage pregnancy, drugs, and
violence to become aspiring college students, published writers, and citizens
for change. They dubbed themselves the “Freedom Writers” –in homage to civil
rights activists The Freedom Riders—and published a book.
Inspired by Anne Frank,
Gruwell and her students captured their collective journey in The Freedom
Writers Diary. Through poignant student entries and Gruwell’s narrative text,
the book records their “eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance
and misunderstanding.” In early 2007, Teach with Your Heart, Gruwell’s powerful
memoir and call to arms was published.
While Gruwell has been
credited with giving her students a “second chance”, it was perhaps she who
changed the most during her tenure at Wilson High School. She decided to
channel her classroom experiences toward a broader cause, and today her impact
as a teacher extends well beyond Room 203. She founded the Freedom Writers
Foundation where she currently teaches teachers around the country how to
implement her innovative lesson plans into their own classrooms. Recently,
Gruwell’s teaching methods from her time in Room 203 have been published in the
Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide. Proceeds from the sale of all books
directly fund the Freedom Writers Foundation.
Gruwell and her students
have appeared on numerous television shows, including Oprah, Prime Time Live
with Connie Chung, The View, and Good Morning America, to name a few. Their
story has earned them dozens of awards, including the Spirit of Anne Frank
Gruwell is a graduate of
the University of California Irvine, where she received the Lauds and Laurels
Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned her Master’s Degree and
teaching credentials from California State University Long Beach, where
she was honored as Distinguished Alumna by the School of Education.
A mother of three and
sixth-grade teacher at Sarah Winnemucca Elementary School in Reno, Nevada,
Tierney Cahill did not expect herself to become politically active. Her
expectations changed, however, while teaching her students a simple civics
lesson on how elections and the government work. After telling her students
that any American can run for political office, they disagreed, and said that
they didn’t believe “normal” Americans could be a legitimate candidate. They
challenged her to prove that ordinary Americans can run for office, and in
order to inspire her students, she dedicated herself to running for the
District 2 Congressional seat.
Cahill ran as a
Democrat, and to her surprise, beat the other Democratic candidates to take on
Republican incumbent Jim Gibbons. While she did not have a lot of money for her
campaign, she threw herself wholeheartedly into the race, talking about the
important issues – education, mental health, and nuclear waste. In spite of the
vast difference in campaign budgets between Cahill and Gibbons ($7,000 to
$320,000), Cahill received an unexpected 34% of the vote. Although she lost,
she succeeded in teaching her students the value of civic duty. On the night of
the election, with her students in tears by her side, she said, “Think about
why we did this and what we did. Can an everyday American run for office? Yes.
We have lots to be proud of.”
Cahill’s story is the
subject of an upcoming film, Class Act, starring Halle Berry and written and
directed by Doug Atchison. Her personal memoir, Ms. Cahill for Congress, was
published in 2008 by Random House. She has also been featured in the
nationally-published book, Teachers: The Enlightened, the Exceptional, the
Extraordinary. Her story is a true inspiration – not only because it shows the
value of education and civic duty, but also because it proves that one person
can change the lives of others. She is highly energetic, humorous, and
motivating, and has made a true impact on the world of education.
SCHOOLS & PROGRAMS
currently being accepted for Highlighted Nevada Schools. The nomination
form is available here: HS Nomination Form. Nominations are due
by January 17th and selected schools will be notified by February 10th.
Selected schools will have all travel and registration fees covered for
up to four team members as well as be given a $150 speaking fee.