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2017 UEA Convention & Education Exposition

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  • NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:
    The former Utah teacher and popular speaker provided the Opening Session keynote address.
  • Local Author Richard Paul Evans:
    Bestselling author of The Christmas Box and the Michael Vey young adult serices provided the Friday keynote address.
  • New Educator Discussion:
    Participants learned how trauma has direct links to student success and achievement during a special event for new educators.

2017 UEA Convention Review

2017 UEA Convention Summary

The 2017 UEA Convention & Education Exposition began Oct. 19 with a series of workshops followed by remarks from the UEA president and the NEA president. Held at the at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, the 2017 UEA Convention delivered much more than just professional development for educators. Parents discovered new ways to engage their children in education and kids experienced hands-on science, math, art and reading activities.

For well over 100 years, Utah educators have gathered at the UEA Convention to share best practices. The 2017 Convention featured professional development for K-12 educators, compelling keynote speakers, a New Educators’ Workshop and dozens of vendor booths, seminars and workshops for parents, and a hands-on learning area for children.

Thursday Opening Session

Thursday’s opening session featured remarks from UEA President Heidi Matthews and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

UEA President Heidi Matthews

UEA President Heidi Matthews shared a story of how she lost her identification prior to boarding an airplane in Seattle. “It’s 5:30 a.m. in Seattle so I am in a groggy fog when I was checking in for my flight – and for the life of me, I can’t find my driver’s license,” she said. “The kind Delta people accepted my numerous forms of identification, but I was not able to check my baggage on the next scheduled flight - and instead had to lug my enormous suitcase through the TSA security line.”

After being chastised multiple times by a gate attendant for bringing her large bag to the gate, Matthews was frustrated and expressed so out loud. “But not one of (the passengers in the gate area) knew that my little blow up was not about my suitcase, not really. It was Las Vegas, Betsy Devos, DACA, CHIP, grading schools, middle school arts music and PE. It was Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate – and California Fires. It was Partisan school boards, SAGE testing and teacher shortages - but what do I allow to get to me? Lost ID and a grumpy gate attendant.”

Matthews said a kind passenger seated next to her, in 39E, offered her commiseration -- and a drink. “By the time we landed in Washington DC, my cloud had drifted away and had been replaced with a new friend whose kindness came at just the right time and sucked the bitterness right out of me,” she said.“My challenge for you today is to be like the woman in 39E. Be the person who reaches out to the crazy lady blowing up about a suitcase – who is compassionate and optimistic – As educators, we need more angels like the woman in 39E.”

Matthews said as educators, we must remember “the power that we have to lift each other up through simple kind gestures…It is up to us as a community of educators to advance the cause of public education, but we can’t do that from a state of bitter anger. So let’s do what we can to see that glass half full, not let grumpy gate agents make us snap and above all be ready with a kind gesture when we can see the need, wherever it may be.”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García

“I always knew since my first day teaching…how important my work was. I always knew that even when I got my work wrong it was important that I improved because what I did was so important to my students,” said former Utah teacher and current National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García. “And now I get to represent 3 million of us.”

She told teachers that “every one of us needs to wake up each morning totally, absolutely sure that the work we’re going to do today is going to change the world. Totally sure that this is the most important thing that anyone could do.”

Eskelsen García concluded by saying that we can change the world “when we take the power we have in our hands to be powerful, human, creative, loving professionals.”

Friday Keynote with Richard Paul Evans

Friday’s keynote speaker was Richard Paul Evans, award-winning author of the #1 best-seller “The Christmas Box” and the “Michael Vey” series. He has written 12 consecutive New York Times bestsellers and is one of the few authors in history to have hit both the fiction and nonfiction bestseller lists.

“I love speaking with teachers because you have a certain energy about you and a willingness to give,” said Evans. “When I speak with teachers I come from the point that I want to give you something, not homework, to take home with you. Something than can impact how you work.”

Evans shared how he is living with the diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome he received at age 40. “I have three main manifestations of my Tourette’s,” he said. He described his lifelong struggle with ticks, the need to touch sharp objects and “the impulse to spit in the face of famous people.”

“I just thought I was weird,” said Evans. He concluded by encouraging teachers to share love and kindness, to reach out to young people and let them know they have value.

Special Event for New Educators

Friday’s special event “Trauma-Informed Teaching: School and Student Care,” facilitated by Alisa Van Langeveld from the University of Utah Department of Family and Consumer Studies, began with a viewing of the film “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope.” Following the film, participants discussed how to support students in need and how trauma and stress affects children. They shared ideas about how to be a trusted educator who can help mediate adverse childhood experiences. Jordan Education Association members Lanny Sorenson and Sharon Jensen also shared their work with trauma and mindfulness. There were about 55 participants in the audience. KSL reported on the event.

The discussion was part of the New Educators’ Workshop, designed especially for educators in their early years of teaching and for students in teacher preparation programs. Available workshops covered a variety of topics.

'Hot Topics and Hot Dogs' Event

NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and former Utah Speaker of the House Nolan Karas provided remarks during the annual Hot Topics and Hot Dogs informal lunch event on Thursday afternoon. Karas stressed how the business community is fully behind efforts to significantly boost funding for public education. He stressed the importance of teachers getting involved in the Our Schools Now initiative.

Workshops and Seminars

Learning opportunities included professional development sessions designed for educators, as well as seminars and workshops to help parents with children in public schools. While both days featured training opportunities on a variety of topics, Thursday’s professional focus was on veteran teachers and Friday’s emphasis on new educators, including the
New Educators’ Workshop. (See the complete workshop descriptions.) Teachers: to request re-licensure points, complete the License Renewal Credit Form (PDF).

Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall area featured dozens of vendor booths, a stage area with education-related entertainment and a variety of other activities (see the complete schedule), including:

  • Stage Area: The Exhibit Hall featured the Equity Real Estate & Veritas Funding stage area where parents and kids enjoyed educational entertainment.
  • Book Giveaway: The Utah Jazz Bear and the Cat in the Hat were on hand as kids and adults shot free throws to win a book at the “Book-A-Basket” event. Hundreds of books were available for all age groups thanks to generous donations from Horace Mann, Utah Idaho Supply/Map World, Barnes & Noble, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation and KUED. The Utah Jazz and Lifetime Products also sponsored the event.
  • Kids Exploration Corner: Kids and families once again enjoyed the KUED Kids Exploration Corner for the hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and literacy activities, and of course for the PBS Kids characters. Community organizations also provided curriculum guides and classroom lesson plan ideas for educators. Participating organizations included KUED, Discovery Gateway, Mike Hamilton and the Magic in Learning, Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake County Library Services, Utah Film Center and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Arts.
  • Pampering Station: Convention attendees relaxed and enjoyed massages, haircuts and manicures at the Pampering Station. “The Pampering Station was definitely a highlight for me,” said one attendee. The stations were free for UEA members.
  • Health Screenings: EMI Health provided health screening exams – including cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage for UEA members.

Other Convention Activities

  • UEA Booth: The UEA hosted a booth where UEA members could gather information and learn more about their Association. The booth, located in the main foyer, featured representatives from the UEA Staff, UEA Political Action CommitteeUEA-Retired, the UEA Children At Risk Foundation and the NEA Breakfast in the Classroom program.
  • Gifts and Prizes: Each educator who attended the Convention received a free welcome bag, courtesy of Chevron Fuel Your School. UEA members were also able to participate in the following:
    • ‘Golden Ticket’ prize drawing for those who entered the ticket included in their UEA Convention program book.
      • 7-night condo stay at one of thousands of worldwide locations, courtesy of Access Development, won by Sarah Johnson, Edison Elementary (Salt Lake)
      • Three $100 gift cards, courtesy of Utah Idaho Supply/Map World, won by Kristel Lee, Castle Dale Elementary (Emery); Jared Newbold, Twin Peaks Elementary (Granite); and Leslie Rigby, Woodruff Elementary (Logan).
      • Three $100 Donors Choose gift cards, courtesy of Chevron, won by Mindi Bingham, North Park Elementary (Weber); Kirk Miller, Olympus High (Granite); and Natalyn Shepherd, Mountain View Elementary (Davis).
  • ‘UEA Monopoly’ Challenge for members who completed the “UEA Monopoly” board challenge to visit vendor booths, won by Rebecca Bates, Tooele High (Tooele).
  • UEA PAC prize for those who purchased tickets for the PAC drawing, won by Kathleen Riebe, Robert Frost Elementary (Granite)
  • Free Tickets: As always, entrance to the UEA Convention was free to all UEA members. The regular admission cost for all others was $10. Each UEA member was provided with a supply of free tickets to share with students, parents, neighbors and friends. Advertising directed anyone wanting free Convention tickets to contact a public school teacher.

Join us for the 2018 UEA Convention & Education Exposition October 18-19

Future UEA Convention Dates

  • October 18-19, 2018
  • October 17-18, 2019

Past UEA Convention Information