East Carolina University’s College of Education hosted its second Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute on Sept. 12 for close to 100 pre-service and in-service teacher educators from the Latham Clinical Schools Network, a privately funded partnership program that supports the enhancement of 39 school systems in eastern North Carolina.
As an expert in the field of literacy and student engagement, Dr. Peter Johnston, delivered the keynote presentation that inspired the educators to incorporate this year’s theme Words: The Power to Open Minds into the classroom.
Dr. Peter Johnson addresses a question during a literacy and teacher education panel discussion at the Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute. Pictured from left to right: Johnston, Lauren Buck, vice president of the North Carolina reading association, Becky Taylor, North Carolina State Board of Education representative, Dr. Laura Bilbro-Berry, ECU’s assistant director of teacher education and Jim Cieslar, executive director of United Way Pitt County.
“Attending Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute was a wonderful experience,” said one participant. “The institute gave me the opportunity to learn about new approaches to literacy from district and national experts and leaders. It has also helped me to develop professionally by challenging me to use creative, proven methods of teaching in the classroom.”
Attendees participated in breakout sessions by reading education faculty and a literacy and teacher education panel discussion featuring Johnston, Dr. Laura Bilbro-Berry, ECU’s assistant director of teacher education, Lauren Buck, vice president of the North Carolina reading association, Jim Cieslar, executive director of United Way Pitt County, Dr. Don Davis, North Carolina senator, and Becky Taylor, North Carolina State Board of Education representative. Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education, welcomed the group with comments on the importance of supporting literacy.
Dr. Peter Johnson with participants attending the Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute.
“The Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy events and my participation on the ECU Literacy Leaders Board provide a wonderful opportunity as a professional to interact and meet with other educators,” said another participant. “These events make me feel empowered and respected as an educator.”
In addition to LCSN teachers, the ECU Literacy Leaders Board and select ECU undergraduate and graduate students were invited to attend the conference. The Department of Literacy Studies, English Education and History Education in the COE held the conference at the Holiday Inn in Greenville, NC.
“We are thrilled with the enthusiasm of the participants who attended the institute,” said Dr. Johna Faulconer, conference director and associate professor in the College of Education. “Literacy is a critical issue and we are fortunate that through the generosity of Felix and Margaret Harvey, and daughters Leigh McNairy and Sunny Burrows, the family’s wishes of providing high quality literacy professional development opportunities for teachers and teachers in training has become a reality.”
A link to a photo album providing a pictorial account of the day is available at: http://www.coe3.ecu.edu/coeweb/Albums/2015_Blount/index.html