Recapping the Year with the District Initiative

Submitted by Cynthia Leatherwood, Outreach Manager at the Edcamp Foundation.

The first year of our new District Initiative is completed. It was an awesome year full of learning for me and the districts! I am thankful to have the opportunity to share the Edcamp model and empower educators across the country. Thanks to all the teachers and administrators who were willing to do things differently and for those who empowered their teachers to take risks. I cannot thank you enough! In every city, the pre service, practicing teachers and administrators go through a training to become Edcamp Specialists. They learn how to introduce the model at the start of the Edcamp, facilitate sessions, build a session board and everything else it takes to host an Edcamp. The goal of the training is to empower them to host future Edcamps. 

This year my District Initiative work was in Philadelphia, PA, Newark, NJ, Queens, NY and Florence, SC. In Philadelphia I had the opportunity to work with Temple University pre service teachers and the School District of Philadelphia. Temple University hosted 2 Edcamps. Their first Edcamp had lively discussions around field work, building relationships with cooperating teachers, securing a teaching position and preparing for interviews. During their second Edcamp, they invited practicing teachers and administrators to sit on a panel. The pre service teachers prepared questions to ask. Then, they built their session board. Their topics focused on differentiated instruction, actively engaging students, networking, resume tips, and next steps. The panel guests stayed and participated in the Edcamp portion. 

For the School District of Philadelphia, we had a theme of Open Educational Resources. We had a keynote speaker who specializes in O.E.R. Then, the teachers wrote their questions and ideas they wanted to talk about for the session board. The Edcamp Specialists built the board. We had facilitators and note takers in the rooms to capture the shared resources and to continue the conversations after the Edcamp was completed. 

In Newark, NJ there were 2 Edcamps with Newark Public Schools and 1 hosted by Marion P. Thomas Charter School. There were 23 Edcamp Specialists trained in Newark. All Edcamps had 200 attendees. The third Edcamp was just held on June 21 and had a theme of “Culture and Climate.” The teachers embraced the model and their energy and discussions were incredible.


I continued to work with pre service teachers at Florence Marion University, SC. 13 pre service teachers went through the Edcamp Specialist training and they will be spreading their knowledge and working on hosting  Edcamps.  I finished up this year with a District Initiative in Far Rockaway, NY. 23 educators became Edcamp Specialists and held their first Edcamp with a theme of “Checking for Understanding.” They invited educators from schools across the peninsula and it was a huge success. They are planning a second Edcamp in the Fall.

Stay tuned for the continued updates on my work in Far Rockaway, NY. During the next school year, my District Initiative work will take me to New Mexico, Missouri, and Virginia.