Lee University’s Helen DeVos College of Education hosted the Southeast Regional Literacy Conference.
The event welcomed over 500 educators from across Southeast Tennessee to address literacy in all content areas. Attendees participated in a variety of breakout sessions, which focused on ways that Tennessee districts and schools can exemplify excellence and equity to equip all students with the knowledge and skills to successfully embark upon their chosen path in life.
“With Commissioner McQueen leading the state’s push in literacy, teachers, school districts, and colleges of education need to work together to align standards with what happens in the public school classroom,” said Dr. Bill Estes, dean of Lee’s HDCOE. “The conference’s turnout shows just how committed our local schools are in embracing this endeavor.”
Attendees discussed how to foster early educational foundations, literacy, and skills in early grades to contribute to future success. They also set a goal to have 75 percent of Tennessee third graders proficient in reading by 2025.
Dr. Vicki Kirk, deputy commissioner and chief academic officer with the Tennessee Department of Education, was the keynote speaker. Her lecture, “The Power of Literacy: Today a Reader – Tomorrow a Reader,” focused on building the framework of K-3 reading and aspirations for early grades reading.
While in the Tennessee Department of Education, Dr. Kirk has established the first Head Start/pre-K partnership in Tennessee, formed a partnership between the Greene Technology Center and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Morristown to create postsecondary opportunities for students in Greene County, and established a pathways program to connect students to their career aspirations.
“We are blessed to have an educational partnership with Lee University,” said Julie Deichert, K-12 English and language arts and social studies academic consultant. “Lee’s College of Education graciously provided their campus and services to support local educators and ultimately students.”