The University of West Alabama (UWA) is a national innovator in the field of rural education, and we are honored that UWA anchors our Alabama Hub that serves the Southeast. The Black Belt Teacher Corps, Project REP, and the new University Charter School are just three examples of UWA programs that are changing the landscape of rural education throughout the Black Belt Region. Digging Into Rural Teaching, UWA's Rural Schools Summit slated for September 17-18 in Livingston, is another example of the University's commitment to teachers, schools, and communities.
Dr. Jan Miller, UWA College of Education Dean and Rural Schools Collaborative Advocate, shared the following information on the upcoming conference. "We are excited to be hosting the Rural Schools Summit again this year! The theme for DIRT18 is “Let’s Talk Some DIRT: Digging Into Rural Teaching!” The Summit will be held at The University of West Alabama’s Bell Conference Center."
DIRT '18 has a very impressive line-up of presenters, including Rick Rigsby, author of Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout and Broadway actor and educational presenter, William Martinez, author of SIGNing the Song. DIRT '18 will also offer hands-on workshops as well as vendors who will provide incredible resources for the classroom! Session presenters include:
- Dyslexia Training with Linnie Reynolds & Jamie Morphis
- Classroom Management with Dustin Ecker
- Digging Up Free Digital Resources with Meredith Smith
- Teaching Tolerance with Kim Estelle
In addition, four Alabama Grants in Place recipients will attend the conference and present on their award winning place-based projects. The four projects are as follows:
- Tiger Pride: Creating Beauty from Ashes: $825 to Monette Harrison of Greenville Middle School for a school beautification project where students will work hand in hand with the town horticulturist as well as other community members.
- Sixth Grade Academy Garden: $1,600 to Cody Brown of Admiral Moorer Middle School in Eufaula City to allow for its new Sixth Grade Academy students to participate in a community garden that will serve to provide students with a substantial real-world experience outside the classroom. Kids will be able to work with their hands outside the doors of the building providing a service to the school community all the while building real-life skills and creating pride in their school campus.
- The Three Sisters and S.T.R.E.A.M. Education: $600 to Warren Truitt of Mount Olive Primary School to support a gardening project that will reconnect rural-based students to the land around them, and to introduce them to some of the practices and legends of the indigenous peoples who once lived in this area. Students will use pre-existing raised beds on our school’s campus. Students will plant corn, climbing beans, and squash, elements of the “Three Sisters” Iroquois legend. Although the Iroquois were based farther north than our region (southeast Alabama), their agricultural innovations spread via migration.
- Growing Together: $1,100 to Brittany Williams of the University Charter School in Livingston to fund a project that will focus on beautifying rural Livingston's downtown through gardening and by partnering with local small businesses. The beautification project is a student-driven plan that will broaden each learner’s creativity and aid them in receiving and becoming owners of authentic learning experiences.
We hope to see you at DIRT '18.Learn more on how to register for DIRT '18.
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