University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings education conference works to 'Raise the Bar' for tomorrow's leaders

June 1, 2011



Montana Center on Disabilities, 657-2312
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


Slate of keynote speakers to help guide development of action plans


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Educational historian Diane Ravitch once said, “If we are going to raise the bar we must take the necessary steps to help students reach it.” 


Taking those necessary steps is the goal of a four-day conference at Montana State University Billings designed not only to raise the bar as far as expectations for students, but to support educators and others who work with the leaders of tomorrow.


The MSU Billings Summer Institute 2011, set for June 6-9, centers on the theme of “Raising the Bar for Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Organizers say the conference is a perfect way for educators, social workers, parents, university students and others to move beyond the limitations set by their current view of education.


The conference, open to the public, will take place the MSU Billings main campus. Most of the sessions will be held in Library 148 with various breakout sessions across the campus.


Registration is $150. Participants can also register on site for OPI renewal units ($10) and/or 1-2 college credits ($150 per credit).

“Raising the bar is a metaphor for raising our goals, standards, and expectations,” said Marsha Sampson, director of the Montana Center on Disabilities at MSU Billings. “This is precisely what we hope to achieve at this conference.”


Internationally-known speakers will provide insights on topics ranging from early literacy, inquiry-based instruction, teaching methods for the millennial student and implementation models for Indian Education for All.


Keynote topics and speakers for the conference follow



""8:45-10:15 a.m. / Adora Svitak. Svitak believes in sharing. Her teaching path started when she published a book at age seven. She is now dedicated to teaching around the world. She spends a lot of her time in the spotlight showing students how to transform ordinary writing into extraordinary writing. She has three major programs: student-targeted presentations aligned to K-12 state standards; 21st Century technology integration training for college students enrolled in teacher training programs; and customizable professional development sessions for school districts and individual schools. Teaching teachers allows Adora to maximize her impact on education. To date, Adora has spoken to over 5000 students and to over 300 schools and classrooms across the world.


""Noon-1:30 p.m. / Star Nayea. Nayea challenged herself one decade ago to develop a motivational speaking platform that would not only change lives, but save lives by openly sharing her triumphant life story. Her gift for music and love for life serve as the tools of choice to cultivate, motivate and inspire future generations. She encourages future generations to follow a life of sobriety and to build a safe community and prosperous future.



""8:45-10:15 a.m. / Kevin Honeycutt. Honeycutt spent 13 years teaching art in K-12 public school and spent summers leading creative adventure camps for kids. He is currently serving his eighth year as a Technology Integration Specialist at ESSDACK, an educational service center based in Hutchinson, Kansas, where he researches and develops programs with a strong passion for making teachers and learners comfortable with technology. He is serving his second term on the school board in Inman, Kansas, and said he believes one of his most important roles is to help envision what the future holds for learners and to help move his district in new directions. He is passionate about meeting the needs of “at risk” learners and works with kids in juvenile detention, developing approaches to re-engage the “lost” learner.


""Noon-1:30 p.m. / Dr. Steve Goodman. Goodman currently serves as co-director for Michigan's Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi), a statewide project to improve the behavior and reading outcomes in over 600 elementary and middle schools. He received his Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University. His area of expertise includes school-wide positive behavior supports and an integrated approach to reading and behavior supports. His 29 years in the field of education involve teaching in special education and at the university level, as well as providing teacher consultant services. Dr. Goodman has co-authored research articles in professional journals and several book chapters. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Association for Positive Behavior Support.


In addition to the keynote speeches at the conference, there will be a variety of sectional discussions at this conference. Those discussions will be on topics ranging from literacy skills to using Google in the classroom. In addition, a number of vendors will be at the university to provide hands-on experiences with the latest educational technology.


Sponsors for the conference are the Montana Regional Education Service Area III, the Region III Comprehensive System of Personnel Development as well as funds from an Office of Public Instruction New Slate Technology Partnership grant.


For additional information, call 657-2312.