At the 2013 Illinois Association of Teacher Educators (IATE) Annual Conference

Dr. Robert Wolffe at his poster session at the IATE Conference

Additional images

November 12, 2013

Representatives from Bradley University and its eight Peoria Professional Development Schools (PDS) attended the Illinois Association of Teacher Educators (IATE) Annual Conference in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois., last November. The theme of the statewide conference was "Preparing and Supporting Educators for our Diverse Communities." The trip was sponsored by the Bradley PDS Partnership, which is funded by the William T. Kemper Foundation-Commerce Bank, Trustee.

Twelve Bradley professors, 16 practicing teachers/administrators, 12 student teachers and 11 teacher education majors attended the conference; 27 Bradley students, professors, and representatives from Bradley’s PDS sites presented at the conference. The presentations were paper sessions, roundtable discussions, and poster sessions. Principal Taunya Jenkins, teacher Martha Ewan-Skorczewski, and teacher Stephanie Dare of Peoria Manual Academies, a PDS site, were among the presenters, speaking on a recent PDS initiative regarding teachers new to their schools and collaboration with Bradley faculty.

Reflecting on the IATE experience, all of Bradley conference participants who rode the chartered bus to and from the conference reported that they learned something new about teaching and learning, all also reported that they learned something they could use in their classrooms, and 85 percent felt they had opportunity to network with other professionals. Although IATE is a conference of university and college teacher educators, it has opened up a major component for the benefit of preservice teachers.

“I truly appreciated the opportunity to participate in the IATE Fall Conference this year,” wrote Bradley Early Childhood Education major Karen Campbell, who is currently student teaching at Lincoln School in East Peoria District 86. “The preservice strand was excellent!” Another Bradley student teacher reflected, “It was a wonderful conference with lots of interesting interaction and ideas. It was also fun to ride the bus with other students and Bradley professors and to have conversations with ISU students.”

Bradley PDS teachers who attended also recognized the value of the conference. “I took some great ideas away from this conference,” wrote Pamela Orton, a fifth grade teacher at Harrison Community Learning Center. “I am excited to use them in my classroom.” Zipporah Randle, a reading Interventionist at Harrison, reflected, “I was pleased from start to finish. I was reminded of some strategies and introduced to an array of information. The most surprising and exciting session was covered by Dr. Pamela Rosa on the Danielson Framework.”

Ninety-three percent of those surveyed on the bus stated that they would like to participate in a future bus trip aimed at professional development for preservice and practicing educators. In 2014, the Bradley PDS Partnership will not need a chartered bus to transport faculty, students, and practitioners to the conference, as the IATE Fall Conference will be held in Bradley’s Westlake Hall on November 7. Mark your calendars. We hope to see you there!