This past weekend, Mrs. Lauren Zarandona participated in the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2) conference at the Mississippi University for Women (MUW). ECET2is an event hosted by the Office of Outreach & Innovation at MUW and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with the intent to, “harness the power of teacher leader networks to deepen learning, as well as to improve the teaching practice to better serve students.”

The event itself was designed for teachers, by teachers and served as a forum to celebrate innovative teachers and engage in best practice sharing. The Office of Outreach & Innovation accepted nominations from administrators at every school in the Golden Triangle to identify teacher leaders who would serve as key speakers and presenters at this prestigious event. Teachers were selected based on their leadership capabilities as well as their passion for classroom innovation, emphasis on teacher collaboration, and enthusiasm for the profession as a whole. Mrs. Zarandona was selected to represent the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. Her presentation was entitled, “Breakout the Collaboration.” In addition to a poignant speech focused on educators’ calling to “search out every way in which the students coming into our classrooms might be underdogs, recognize it, and help those students move on from it,” Mrs. Zarandona reiterated the importance of collaboration and team building to meet the individual needs of every student. To illustrate these points, she led an escape-room style game called, The Faculty Meeting, which required collaboration for all game participants. This hands-on activity served as a jumping off point for a robust discussion on how to encourage collaboration and cooperation for specific grade levels.

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science believes deeply in the importance of elevating the teaching profession across the entire state as well as equipping all teachers with the tools necessary to reach their students in engaging and innovative ways. Faculty at MSMS are encouraged to give of their time and expertise to impact educational outcomes across the state. Mrs. Zarandona’s participation and leadership in the ECET2 conference is a shining example of teacher outreach.