HERMISTON - Umatilla and Morrow county elementary, middle school and high school teachers and para-educators have the opportunity to attend the fourth annual Eastern Oregon Institute teaching conference Aug. 11-15 at Hermiston High School.

The institute gathers more than 200 educators each year for the week-long conference to develop instructional strategies to meet district, state and national education objectives. The conference seeks to present a series of classes that present research-based instructional strategies that focus on meeting the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act.

"This is counted as an inservice for the teachers who attend," said Carol Clupney of the Education Service District. "We're trying to get as many local educators involved as possible."

Educators who attend the conference have the opportunity to gain three graduate credits from Eastern Oregon University or three undergraduate credits from Blue Mountain Community College.

Clupney said class topics at the conference are presented in three strands: general education, diverse learner and instructional technology.

The general education strand is designed to acquaint teachers with strategies to improve student performance in reading, math and science, as well as to use assessments to make instructional decisions, improve school climate, communicate effectively and meet new diploma requirements.

The diverse-learner strand is for the para-educators, and includes responsibilities, challenges, and appropriate intervention strategies in teaching children with specific learning disabilities and special needs, or targeted populations, including English language learners.

The instructional technology strand shares instruction strategies and skills to integrate online resources and software tools into appropriate educational uses that are aligned with district goals.

Each course will be taught by master teachers and administrators from around the state, Clupney said. Concurrent classes run each day of the conference from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with some evening courses running from 6-8:30 p.m.

Clupney added that for the first time there will be a teaching innovations exposition. It's planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 13. Presentations on this day will be mini-seminars lasting one hour each that will highlight creative, innovative projects that have been successfully implemented in local schools.

There is no cost to Umatilla and Morrow county school staff to attend the conference, Clupney said. However, if interested educators do not register prior to July 25, there will be a $10 late fee.

For more information, contact Clupney at ESD at 966-3145.

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