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Ivy Preparatory Schools Network To Host Free Professional Development Conference for Educators

Veteran educators and aspiring teachers are invited to attend a free professional development conference hosted by Ivy Preparatory Academy Network on Thursday, June 5, in Peachtree Corners that will share innovative strategies to improve student achievement.

The 2014 Collaboration Conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ivy Prep Academy’s Gwinnett campus at 3705 Engineering Drive. The event will feature special guest speakers, networking, and seminars on curriculum development, classroom management, tracking student data, and education leadership.

Educators will have an opportunity to share their classroom experiences and get advice from experts who have successfully transformed low-performing classrooms in traditional and public charter schools.

“Collaboration is all about experimentation and bringing in outside perspectives,” said Jacob Cole, a spokesman for Ivy Preparatory Network. “As educators, we develop certain behaviors and routines that we think are best for our children. However, an outside observer might take a look and some of those practices and see room for improvement. As long as we stay in our own academic bubble, we never have the opportunity for that constructive criticism. We don’t have a chance to see innovative practices unless we create it ourselves.”

Ivy Preparatory Academy will lead collaboration efforts by sharing its school operations manual with attendees. The network’s lead founder, Nina Gilbert and its executive director, Victoria Wiley, will discuss how the state’s first single-gender public charter school network built its school culture, college prep curriculum, and climate.

Ivy Prep Academy has a proven record of narrowing the achievement gap between students of different socio-economic backgrounds.

Students in the flagship charter school routinely outperformed their peers in Gwinnett County and statewide on the Georgia Criterion Referenced-Competency Test. In 2012, Ivy Prep Gwinnett was the only public middle school in Gwinnett County to be named a "rewards school" for high-test performance among minority and low-income students.

Conference attendees will receive a copy of Ivy Prep’s best practices guide, “The Ivy Prep Way,” which is a blueprint for helping students in urban schools to achieve. Ivy Prep earned accreditation in 2013 from SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

“I am beyond excited about the opportunity to share Ivy’s best practices with the world, as well as hear from other schools on how they are serving students,” said Wiley of the conference, which is being funded by a federal grant completed and won by Cole. “This began with, Jacob Cole, a former sixth grade social studies teacher and our current director of communications. He envisioned greatness for his classroom and our school by sharing the elements that have proven success with other schools. His efforts are entrepreneurial and demonstrate a ‘doing whatever it takes’ mindset.  It is my hope the conference is full to capacity with educators ready to elevate their craft.  We welcome all educators from traditional public, private and other charter schools.”

Ivy Preparatory Network schools provide educational choice to a diverse group of students including those in middle-income households in neighborhoods burdened with crime, poverty, and low expectations for kids. Ivy Preparatory Schools in Gwinnett and DeKalb have extended days, an extended year, and double daily doses of math, language arts and other core classes.

“Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from veteran Ivy Prep educators and get an inside look at the techniques and strategies that have allowed Ivy Prep to perform at exceptional levels,” Cole said.

Ivy Prep administrators speaking at the 2014 Collaboration Conference will encourage fellow educators at charter schools and traditional public schools across metro Atlanta to share information and see each other as partners in the business of helping students to succeed.

“Good artists borrow; great artists steal,” Cole said of an old adage. “The same is true of educators, and we have to create those opportunities to ‘steal’ effective practice from each other.”

Educators interested in attending the free 2014 Collaboration Conference can register at www.tgae.org, the website of The Georgia Achievement Exchange, a nonprofit being developed to foster continued collaboration between Georgia educators.

Attendees should come to the conference prepared with classroom materials and ideas related to the sessions they will attend. Refreshments will be served.


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