It's been so long since Belmont County has had a county-wide in-service day for school teachers, that nobody can remember when the last one was held.
Well, that will change Monday when teachers from all over the spacious county converge on the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District campus.
"We've talked about having one of these since I became superintendent here," Bridgeport's Ted Downing said Friday afternoon. "Just to try and do more collaboration. To try and get teachers from all the districts together to share their ideas.
"Every school district does things a little differently, and a lot of people have a lot of great ideas," Downing added. "Just try and get everyone in one place."
He said organizers are expecting more than 600 teachers from the eight districts. Registration takes place at 7:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 8. It will last approximately three hours, with a break scheduled around 10:15.
Expected to attend are teachers from, in addition to Bridgeport, Barnesville Exempted Village Schools, Bellaire Local Schools, Shadyside Local Schools, St. Clairsville-Richland Township City Schools and Union Local Schools. Martins Ferry Schools has a prior commitment on the same date and will not be able to attend this year.
However, Downing indicated Martins Ferry is interested in future confabs.
"I think this in-service meeting is very important to the school districts in Belmont County," said East Central Ohio ESC Superintendent Kevin Spears. "I also feel that the superintendents of each district feel it's important. We're hoping that this will grow and develop in the next few years into an annual event."
Being the initial adventure, Downing admitted that baby steps are being taken.
"We're having a motivational speaker and several other speakers that will deal with teacher-related issues, such as the new teacher evaluation tool and major changes coming to the teacher's retirement system."
Karen Vadino is a motivational speaker, humorist, trainer and consultant. In her 30-plus years as a human service professional, most of her experience has been in the field of chemical dependency, both as a licensed clinician and as a certified prevention specialist.
Vadino's one-hour presentation will begin at 9:10 a.m.
Having the first get-together in Bridgeport is a nice opportunity for the district, Downing allowed.
"It's nice that we will be able to showcase our building," he noted. "I don't know how many teachers in the county have had the opportunity to visit our campus, but we're glad to show it off. We're proud of what we have here."
Should this become an annual event, Downing said various schools from around the county could host it to showcase their buildings.
"That way teachers can visit other schools that they might never have the opportunity to do so," he said.
A one-hour program by Ty Sells will kickoff the event at 8:10 a.m. following a welcome from Downing, Spears, and Leslie Kosanovic, Director of Curriculum for the East Central Ohio ESC.
Janet Groom, Director of Student Services, will introduce the speakers.