03 Aug GRITC: Making an Impact on Education
Baldwin County Public Schools and the Baldwin County Education Coalition hosted the annual Gulf Regional Innovative Teaching Conference (GRITC) July 18th, 19th, and 20th 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. With 388 different sessions offered, there is something for every educator. More than 1,000 educators registered for the 2022 conference and spent three days exploring topics of their choice.
“I am so proud of how far our GRITC Conference has come. It started as a local event and has grown to a regional event with people coming from surrounding systems, even surrounding states, to attend,” said Baldwin County Public School Superintendent Eddie Tyler. “There is something for everyone from those who are just starting their career to educators who have been in game for years just looking to sharpen their skills.”
“With the help of the Education Coalition, we are able to host a conference that focuses not only on providing learning for our teachers, but also a chance for those same teachers to share valuable best practices with others. Our teachers also get additional perspectives from experts in the education field without having to leave Baldwin County,” said Jeremy King, Education Technology Support Services Coordinator for Baldwin County Public Schools.
This year offered an inspiring keynote presentation from Mr. Jay Gross, a retired educator of 31 years, who re-entered the classroom and continues to teach English, Speech and Debate. Mr. Gross spoke during the opening session of GRITC sharing his story, his passion for education, and most importantly, his passion for educating and impacting students beyond just the curriculum. Mr. Gross set the tone for an inspiring and refreshing week for those in attendance.
Throughout the three-day conference, attendees had the opportunity to network and connect with fellow educators and with GRITC sponsors, many of whom are vendors for schools and provide the technology and tools teachers are already using in their classrooms.
“The GRIT Conference is about educating the educators, no matter where they are in their careers, GRITC offers unique training and networking opportunities for every teacher,” said Baldwin County Education Coalition Director, Terry Burkle. “The Coalition is proud to partner with Baldwin County Public Schools to host this annual event.”
“I truly believe our partnership with the coalition has made the conference much stronger each year and helps provide some of the extras that make the atmosphere so wonderful,” said King.
On Tuesday evening, GRITC offered a unique opportunity for community members and parents to learn more about raising kids in a world saturated by media. 2021 Miss Alabama, Lauren Bradford, and National Education Consultant Social Media Expert, Kristi Bush, spoke candidly about what kids are doing online, the dangers of social media, and how parents can play a role in finding a healthy balance.
Lauren is a 3-year Summa-Cum-Laude graduate of Auburn University and an incoming Graduate student at Vanderbilt University. Lauren began her own educational campaign UNPLUG: The Digital Diet Plan at the age of 15 to educate on the harmful impacts of tech overuse and share practical ways to balance consumption. As Miss Alabama, Lauren has traveled all over and educated thousands on her Social Impact Initiative. If you missed her at GRITC visit https://digitaldietplan.weebly.com to learn more.
Kristi serves as a national education consultant and social media safety advocate. She is a licensed social worker with more than 15 years of clinical practice and health care experience. She shared about the benefits and threats associated with social media. If you missed her at GRITC, visit http://www.KNBCommunications.com to learn more.
“I want to thank those from our system who work tirelessly every year to make it what it has become, to our donors who give food, treats, and door prizes just to name a few, and the Baldwin County Education Coalition for their dedication to our system,” said Tyler. “If you’ve not been to GRITC, make plans to attend. For educators, you can’t find a better place to socialize, network and learn the latest in the field of education.”
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 www.betterbaldwin.com.