GRITC: Investing in Professional Development for Educators

Baldwin County Public Schools and the Baldwin County Education Coalition hosted the annual Gulf Regional Innovative Teaching Conference (GRITC) on July 17th, 18th, and 19th on the campus of Fairhope Middle School. GRITC provides professional development training for teachers from across Baldwin County, the state of Alabama, and the Gulf Coast Region.

“Our teachers are on the front lines every day changing the lives of our children. It’s important that we invest in them and equip them with the professional development and resources they need to be the best they can be,” said Terry Burkle, Executive Director for the Baldwin County Education Coalition.

This year’s conference hosted 377 attendees with 165 unique sessions for them to attend.

“GRITC provides teachers with an opportunity to choose professional development that is meaningful and relevant to them instead of a one size fits all approach to professional learning,” said Katie Nettles, Consulting Teacher with Education Technology Services at Baldwin County Public Schools. “We include a wide variety of sessions that cover all content areas, collaboration, innovative teaching strategies, technology, and the arts.”

Educators were welcomed to Fairhope with an opening session featuring A. J. Juliani, an award-winning blogger, speaker, and author of multiple books, including the best-sellers Adaptable, Empower, and Launch. Mr. Juliani is the founder of Adaptable Learning, an education, learning, and development company that serves organizations, schools, and individuals through professional learning and curriculum services and courses.

Mr. Juliani provided personal stories mixed with real-world examples, and research-based insights to encourage educators to not only be intentional about innovation in the classroom, but also to focus on how practice needs to always be centered on the student experience.

The GRIT Conference continues to provide unique learning opportunities as they allow teachers a chance to present to their colleagues. This allows educators to share their expertise and ideas with other teachers from across the region. The peer-to-peer presentations have been impactful and rewarding for attendees.

“We are proud to have a 9.8 average rating from our attendees who took the time to leave feedback on their sessions. This year was another great success!” said Nettles.

Of the more than 300 in attendance, 286 were Baldwin County Public School Employees.

“We continue to be supportive of and impressed by our team who organize and put on the GRIT Conference,” said Eddie Tyler, Superintendent of Baldwin County Public Schools. “What makes me prouder, is that a large portion of the instructors at the conference are our own staff and faculty. We continue to set the bar high in Baldwin County. We encourage not only our employees but educators from around the region to come and experience this conference that not only seeks to empower but encourage those teaching our young ones.”

The Gulf Regional Innovative Teaching Conference is held annually in July and is open to all educators. To learn more about GRITC and the initiatives of the Baldwin County Education Coalition visit and explore