When we talked about where to host our next EdCampPGH, we wanted to have a focus on equity. We were glad that PPS (Pittsburgh Public Schools) SciTech agreed to host the event. EdCampPGH is part of a national movement lead by the EdCamp Foundation. EdCamp is a form of unconference designed specifically for teachers and their needs. What makes EdCamp an unconference you might ask? Unlike traditional conferences which have schedules set months in advance by the people running the conference,EdCamp has an agenda that's created by the participants at the start of the event.
My co-organizer, Justin Aion summed up the day best: "My prime takeaway from morning sessions at #edcampPGH: humanity trumps content 10 times out of 10." Setting the tone for the day was Lori Delale-O'Connor from University of Pittsburgh, School of Education's Center for Urban Education. Lori asked us to think about whose voices are absent from our conversation and to be mindful of that when we plan for change, innovation and growth in schools. She also said: "Looking for gaps is only a way to be sure to perpetuate them— let’s look for building on assets not dwelling on deficits." With an amazing group of close to 100 teachers, administrators and learning partners in attendance, I believe they are focused on rethinking the deficient model and beginning with the positive qualities of the schools!
A series of robust sessions rounded on the day from topics that are typical such as EdTech to new topics such as LBGTQ issues in schools and parent engagement. It was also our first EdCampPGH that we had parents join. The team at Pittsburgh SciTech did a wonderful job getting the word out and leading the event.