Originally created 11/05/02

Conference attracts educators



Ingrid McNeil didn't have to drive far to make the journey from Episcopal Day School to the Georgia Independent Schools Association's annual conference.

From year to year, different cities throughout the state play host to the conference. This year was Augusta's turn, the first time the conference has been held in Augusta.

The event, which began Saturday and concluded Monday, attracted about 900 educators and school supply vendors to the area.

"I wanted to get some new ideas to take back to the classroom," said Ms. McNeil, a sixth- and eighth-grade math and science teacher who attended seminars on the math and science Olympiad competition.

Episcopal Day School, Westminster Schools of Augusta and Augusta Preparatory Day School were hosts for the event, which was held simultaneously at the Westminster and Augusta Prep campuses.

Patrick Bassett, the president of the National Association of Independent Schools, kicked off the event at Augusta Prep with a keynote address on preparing private schools for the 21st century. Implementing change at the school and classroom level was his main message.

"Why is it so hard to change? The corporate world, the military and churches have reinvented themselves. Even museums have rethought the way they deliver. Other than the Vatican, we seem to be the most resistant to change," Mr. Bassett said.

His message hit home with Lesley Robertson, an algebra teacher from Lovett School in Atlanta.

"I was really impressed by his focus on how we can change ourselves," she said. "A lot of people are hesitant to change: 'Why change when it's always worked before?' But if we don't change we'll just flounder."

On Monday, educators from Georgia's 140 private schools had the opportunity to attend 100 professional development seminars.

"I teach computer science, so I wanted to see how other schools are treating technology and how they are integrating it into their classrooms," said Maj. Dennis Carpenter, of Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville.

Reach Melissa Hall at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 113, or melhall@augustachronicle.com.