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Field Notes: On the Road with NCTE

English and language arts teachers are always learning. The notion that they take the summer “off” is perhaps one of the most stale misconceptions the public has about our profession. Every day I see new ways in which our members are busy preparing for their students’ return and growing their own expertise in the process.

Good things are happening all over the map as NCTE moves from an organization people used to follow toward one in which people belong. If you’re not a member already, YOU need to be part of this exciting panoply of action. Consider joining or renewing your membership TODAY!

Check out where NCTE is this summer:

CCCC Summer Conferences (Massachusetts, California, Virginia, and Ohio)
The Conference on College Composition and Communication is the world’s largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition, from writing to new media. In May and June, CCCC Summer Conferences took place on campuses across the country. These four meetings were a new initiative intended to foster and support the developing and sharing of innovative activities related to literacy learning. They were all well-attended and CCCC has a call open for 2018 conferences.

CEE Summer Conference (Columbus, OH)
The Conference on English Education serves those NCTE members who are engaged in the preparation, support, and continuing education of teachers of English language arts/literacy. You can read more about my takeaways from the CEE’s 2017 convening here!

NCTE Reads (Across the Country)
In June, NCTE hosted an online group where members could discuss Jennifer Buehler’s book Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives. More than 100 members participated and enjoyed learning from the conversation. Stay tuned for more opportunities like this in the fall!

Professional Dyads and Culturally Responsive Teaching (PDCRT) Retreat (Urbana, IL)
The Early Childhood Education Assembly (ECEA) is a young, vibrant group of teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and educational leaders concerned with issues related to the languages and literacies of children birth–age 8, their families, and their communities. A professional development program supported by the ECEA is for teacher-teacher educator teams (dyads) who are interested in working together and within a network of dyads to develop culturally relevant literacy practices in diverse preK, kindergarten, first-, and second-grade classrooms. This past week NCTE hosted a retreat for the dyads at the Urbana office.

NCTE Kent D. Williamson Fellowship (Washington, DC)

Lauren PfefferWe’re excited to welcome Lauren Pfeffer Stuart to Washington, DC, this month where she’ll begin a 6-week fellowship that brings her classroom expertise to Capitol Hill. Lauren is an English teacher at El Rodeo School in Beverly Hills, California. She describes her interest in this opportunity in this way:

“I believe that all students, regardless of their zip code, are entitled to a free and high-quality English language arts education. As an educator, I feel a sense of responsibility to ensure this fundamental right is upheld. This Fellowship will give me the skills and opportunities necessary to do so. I hope this Fellowship allows me the opportunity to advocate for quality literacy instruction across the nation, as well as learn from policymakers how best to incorporate teacher voice in legislation.”

That’s our hope too, and we look forward to sharing what we learn with Lauren, with you!

Affiliate Leadership Meeting (Atlanta, GA) 
More than 100 representatives of NCTE affiliates from across the country will gather in Atlanta this weekend to share ideas and get up to speed on the council’s newest initiatives. Stay tuned for highlights from this gathering in a few weeks and follow along at #ncteaffiliate.

Literacies for All Summer Institute (Tucson, AZ) 
Later this month educators with a passion for creating and supporting whole language learning communities will gather in Arizona to learn and explore these issues through a variety of forums including workshops, symposia, panels, conversations, and social/political action. This institute is produced by the Whole Language Umbrella, a conference within NCTE focused on developing and implementing whole language in educational institutions.

When you look at all these ways teachers are growing their practice this summer, isn’t it exciting to imagine what’s going to be possible when school begins again?