The FREE Summer Conferences for private school staff held each year by OSPI at Gonzaga University and Seattle Pacific University are paid for through equitable TITLE II, Part A services provided by the federal government.  Every private school teacher, administrator and staff member in Washington is invited.  The final conference this year is August 7-8, 2018 at Seattle Pacific University.

This year Inquiry Partners, a University of Washington-based organization of inquiry enthusiasts and champions, led the two-day active exploration of how to use questions and conversation to boost student learning.  Inquiry Partners is an excellent resource and is available to teach staff as a group how to grow their expertise in inquiry-based teaching.

Pat Smithson is the Program Supervisor for Title II, part A at OSPI and works each year to establish the content, find the high quality presenters, and coordinate the three, two-day conferences for private schools.  Pat has been involved in education most of her life as a teacher, a reading specialist, and a principal.  After retiring as OSPI staff member in the consolidated programming— Federal Funds, she moved on to her current position.

Now in her sixth year organizing the Summer Conference, she has gotten to know many of the teachers and administrators and loves to know she is positively changing and impacting the work at schools.

Heather Rees, who is just starting at OSPI has been working in social services, for AmeriCorps and the Boys and Girls Club. She is now the Administrative Assistant for Special Programs and Title IIA.

Pat Smithson is looking to private schools for requests for conference ideas for next year.  What do your teachers need?  These ideas will be vetted and prioritized by a private school advisory group with the final topic sent out in search for high caliber professionals to lead the conferences.  There is an internal committee that reads through the proposals and finds the best fit.  If you know excellent presenters or have ideas about what would be a great topic for next year, please contact Pat.