Second annual educators’ conference concludes today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 3, 2010

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Convention Center turned into a big classroom Wednesday.

The locally-created second annual Southwest Mississippi Educators’ Conference has area teachers and administrators sharing techniques for creating a better learning environment.

“The conference is going really well,” Natchez-Adams County Superintendent Anthony Morris said. “We have had over 300 people participate.

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“This conference not only helps our educators, but it also adds to the economy as teachers and administrators from the region have come to participate.”

Robert Lewis Middle School teacher Cindy Willis said she was enjoying learning new ways to help reach children during the workshops. One aspect Willis said she liked has children identifying three-dimensional shapes.

“I liked identifying pyramids with a blindfold,” Willis said. “I think that is a neat way to teach students geometry.”

Willis said she also learned a fun way to teach synonyms and anonyms.

“They would work with song titles and match them up,” she said. “I think children would love that.”

Two of the out-of-town teachers, Mary Brewer and Dawn Gainwell, both of Yazoo City’s Woolfolk Middle School, said the trip was well worth the time.

“I learned a lot of new teaching styles to take back and apply in the Yazoo district,” Gainwell said.

“I came to get more knowledge in teaching the core subjects,” Brewer said. “I feel like I’m getting it.”

Natchez-Adams Count School Board Chairman Harold Barnett said the event was going well.

“Dr. Morris and (Jefferson County School District Assistant Superintendent Tracy) Cook put a lot of effort into this,” he said. “So far it has been very informative — I’m learning some great stuff.

“It is also good to get people together like this to talk because once you get talking about some subjects, you realize you don’t know it as well as you’d like.”

When the Mississippi Department of Education’s annual MEGA conference was canceled due to economic reasons, Morris and Clark put this event together to fill the void.

“Mr. Cook and I got together and we said we can do the same thing here in Natchez for the surrounding counties,” Morris said.

Amite, Claiborne, East Jasper, Jefferson and Adams counties all participated in the conference, which started Tuesday and concludes today. Yazoo City also sent some participants.