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Alumnae, area educators share innovative learning strategies at Heick Symposium

Kristin Genova Richardson '79 delivers the keynote for the Heick Symposium.

Kristin Genova Richardson ’79 delivers the keynote for the Heick Symposium.

On Saturday, Randolph hosted a special program for area educators about STEM education and hands-on teaching strategies in sessions led by several of the College’s alumnae as well as local school administrators.

The 2017 Heick Symposium on Education featured strategies for EL Education, college and career ready pathways, STEAM and maker spaces, and meeting the needs of all learners using modern technology.

To kick off the one-day conference, Kristin Genova Richardson ’79 gave the keynote, “A Look Back Provides the Path Forward.” She worked for E.F. Hutton in the Capital Markets Group, holding positions in government and bond trading and in institutional fixed income sale, and currently serves on numerous state, local, and national boards and committees in Colorado. She has received numerous recognitions for her work in education, including the 2010 I have a Dream Foundation Award, the 2010 Community Volunteer Award for Philanthropy Day, the 2013 Girl Scout Woman of Distinction Award, and the 2017 Kempe Foundation Community Award.

On Saturday, Richardson spoke about how returning to some of the learning techniques of past centuries might be implemented and lead to student success in classrooms today. Some of those strategies included more personalized lessons, a stronger emphasis on creativity in the classroom, and building a more collaborative environment.

“The problems that we face as a nation are daunting, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude and complexity of the challenges we face,” Richardson said. “However, there are solutions. If we work collaboratively to solve issues, new kinds of collaboration will emerge and provide a new lens to old problems. Education has never been more mission critical to the health and well-being of our nation and our planet. I truly believe the daunting problems we face today can and will be solved by the next generation of creative, innovative thinkers.”

Karen Campbell '77 (right) speaks to Derrick Brown during a panel discussion on preparing students for future success.

Karen Campbell ’77 (right) speaks to Derrick Brown during a panel discussion on preparing students for future success.

Other speakers at the Heick Symposium included Ginger Hill Worden ’69, who led a session about EL Education (formerly known as Expeditionary Learning) strategies. Worden, along with her husband, Geoff, founded Bridges, a homeless outreach effort in New York City. She also served as interim president of Randolph College from July 2006-2007.

“When you sit and drill information, you are not helping creativity,” Worden said. “But when you give an opportunity for a child to make a difference, to collaborate together in their small groups in school and come up with a project to complete, it unleashes an energy in all of us.”

The Heick Symposium also included panel discussions profiling programs both in the local area and around the nation that are engaging students and helping them succeed. A morning panel discussed ways to best prepare students for the future, and featured Tim Beatty, principal of Heritage High School; Derrick Brown, principal of P.L. Dunbar Middle School, Karen Campbell ’77, professor emerita and former dean for undergraduate education at Vanderbilt University; and Leidra McQueen, director of the Beacon of Hope Future Center at Heritage High School.

Another panel talked about the future of education and consisted of Susan Clash, director of XLR8—Lynchburg Regional Governor’s STEM Academy; Jolley Bruce Christman ’69, founder of Research for Action and former education professor at the University of Pennsylvania; and Tracy Jo Proffitt ’04, STREAM coach and math remediation specialist at R.S. Payne Elementary School.

Also during the Heick Symposium, attendees learned about Randolph’s unique partnership with P.L. Dunbar Middle School. Funded by a 21st Century Grant, the Kids in College program paired Randolph students with middle schoolers to build a tiny house during the past spring and fall semesters. Students answered questions about the project and led tours of the tiny house during the session.

The Heick Symposium was funded by the Betty Jo Denton Heick ’45 Annual Symposium Fund, created through a generous bequest from the estate of Betty Jo Denton Heick ’45.

Participants at the 2017 Heick Symposium on Education tour a tiny house built by Randolph students and students at P.L. Dunbar Middle School.

Participants at the 2017 Heick Symposium on Education tour a tiny house built by Randolph students and students at P.L. Dunbar Middle School.



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