STCC to join ‘Building Bridges’ virtual conference for early childhood educators
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Springfield Technical Community College will host a session that focuses on demystifying college during the Building Bridges virtual conference on March 19, a free event for early childhood educators.
The full-day event features breakout sessions in English and Spanish led by educators from a variety of backgrounds and organizations, from college and university faculty to museum and library staff, among others.
Developed by a community-wide early literacy initiative in Springfield called “Reading Success by Fourth Grade,” the conference is designed for educators who teach children from birth to kindergarten age. However, anyone working in education is invited to attend, including paraprofessionals, workers in early intervention programs, family programming and others.
“We’re excited to be a part of this conference, which is the first of its kind,” said Jennifer Wallace-Johnson, an Early Childhood Education student liaison at STCC. “This is a valuable opportunity for early childhood educators, and it’s 100 percent free.”
STCC, one of several community partners, is helping to plan the conference in addition to presenting at the event.
“Having STCC as a player in the conference is a great connection to the community,” said Chrissy Howard, Reading Success by Fourth Grade program manager. “We’re excited that STCC is offering some of the Spanish speaking sessions. We need even more Spanish speaking opportunities because of the diversity of the profession. Those are really sought out sessions.”
Having STCC as a player in the conference is a great connection to the community.Chrissy Howard, Reading Success by Fourth Grade program manager
Howard said the purpose of the conference is to ensure that educators get free access to training.
“We want to increase access to high quality training that they normally would have to pay for,” she said. “Our goal is to make sure there is high quality early education for everybody, birth to five, wherever their setting is, whether it’s early childcare or preschool centers.”
Jennifer Wallace-Johnson and Lakisha Coppedge, also an Early Childhood Education student liaison, will lead the session titled “Demystifying Higher Education Pathways: Understanding the Roadmap to College.”
The session will highlight college processes and help inspire people who might be thinking of returning to college and furthering their education. “We will provide a roadmap to college,” said Wallace-Johnson. “Focus will be placed on college readiness, barriers, and diverse program options through open discussion.”
Demystifying College will be presented in two sessions: one in English and the other in Spanish. Wallace-Johnson and Yezenia Lopez, academic advisor and adjunct faculty at STCC, will co-facilitate the same breakout session in Spanish.
“We see our breakout session as an opportunity to reach out to a diverse group of educators, including Spanish speakers, and show them that a college education is not out of reach,” Lopez said. “We want to let early childhood educators know that STCC is an affordable option that can help them advance in their careers.”
Added Coppedge, “We’re thrilled to be working with Reading Success and to play a part in planning the conference. We hope participants who attend our session will find the tools they need to get started in continuing their education.”
Coppedge and Nancy Ward, the Early Childhood Education grants coordinator at STCC, serve on the Reading Success Initiative Committee.
STCC is a sponsor of the event, a donor and is paying the facilitators stipends for hosting the breakout sessions.
Richard Greco, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at STCC, said the Early Childhood Education program at STCC has been a partner with Springfield Public Schools.
“Community is part of our name at STCC,” Greco said. “We are always striving to build and strengthen our relationships with the community, particularly in the education sector. The ‘Building Bridges’ virtual conference is a wonderful fit for us.”
To register for the event and find out more information, visit www.readby4thgrade.com/building-bridges.
Interested in applying to STCC? Visit stcc.edu/apply or call Admissions at (413) 755-3333.
About Springfield Technical Community College
STCC, the Commonwealth's only technical community college, continues the pioneering legacy of the Springfield Armory with comprehensive and technical education in manufacturing, STEM, healthcare, business, social services, and the liberal arts. STCC's highly regarded workforce, certificate, degree, and transfer programs are the most affordable in Springfield and provide unequalled opportunity for the vitality of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1967, the college – a designated Hispanic Serving Institution – seeks to close achievement gaps among students who traditionally face societal barriers. STCC supports students as they transform their lives through intellectual, cultural, and economic engagement while becoming thoughtful, committed and socially responsible graduates.
Jim Danko, email@example.com, (413) 755-4812