Sharing What Works: EDS/CREATE Conference Celebrates Five Years of Teacher-to-Teacher Learning

Keynote speaker Michelle Sadrena Clark at the 5th annual EDS/CREATE Teaching and Learning Conference last month.

UC San Diego’s EDS and CREATE continued to expand their regional efforts for a fifth year with a slate of innovative learning experiences headed by leading area educators at “Engaging Today’s Student: Sharing What Works.”

Held at UC San Diego’s Pepper Canyon Hall on April 28, the daylong teaching and learning conference for P16 educators marked five years that UC San Diego’s Department of Education Studies (EDS) and the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) successfully co-hosted a conference for P16 educators to learn about each other’s work while making valuable connections.

“On behalf of EDS and CREATE, we are pleased and excited to be able to offer informative and engaging teacher-to-teacher learning sessions for area educators each year,” said Carolyn Hofstetter, conference chair, EDS department chair and associate teaching professor. “It was a beautiful day of learning, partnership, and social connection to highlight many pockets of innovation throughout our educational community. EDS and CREATE are especially appreciative to the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences Special Initiative Fund, which also made this day possible!”

Erica Heinzman, EDS lecturer/supervisor of secondary mathematics, Rachel Millstone, EDS lecturer/supervisor of secondary science and English Language Arts, and Susan Yonezawa, CREATE associate director, co-chaired the conference with Hofstetter.

Teachers from Gompers Preparatory Academy prepare for their day of learning.

Pepper Canyon Hall teemed with more than 200 teachers from school districts across San Diego and Riverside counties. Many future teachers from EDS’s teacher preparation program were also in attendance, as were educators and administrators pursuing doctorates. Eighteen conference sessions were offered on new instructional practices on a variety of topics, from teaching science through an ELA and math lens, to integrating social justice standards in lesson planning, to language and literacy though bilingual storybook apps.

To kick off the conference, High Tech High School’s Michelle Sadrena Clark delivered a keynote address, “Teacher Transformation: Poetic and Practical Proposals from a Passionate Practitioner.” Her electrifying performance had the standing room only crowd up on its feet with an enthusiastic standing ovation. Clark, an education coordinator at High Tech High School (HTH), is involved in a range of student-focused education programs, including HTH’s Deeper Learning Hub, The Learning Deeply blog, Share Your Learning Campaign, and the Equity Deep Dive for the Center for Research on Equity and Innovation at HTH Graduate School. She has gained regional and national attention for her class projects that invite students to think critically and act empathetically. Clark is currently an EDS/Joint Doctoral Program student in Educational Leadership.

“Will our children be ready for the future?” Clark asked the audience. “What are we [as teachers] doing with our students to prepare for the future? We cannot teach the same way. Maybe these workshops today will help?” she added, to great laughter from the audience.

Afterwards, teachers streamed into the first of three session blocks offered at the conference. Many sessions focused on interdisciplinary instruction; several sessions centered on innovative approaches to teaching deaf and hard of hearing students. UC San Diego’s EDS offers a master’s degree in Teaching and Learning: Emphasis in American Sign Language – English Bilingual Education of Deaf Children. This nationally recognized teacher training program is designed to meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing children from various language and cultural backgrounds.

“Engaging Today’s Student: Sharing What Works”
Conference Sessions by Subject

  • Mathematical Explorations through Folding, Perla Myers, University of San Diego (pictured above)
  • Fraction Division: 4 Meanings and “Why can I multiply by the reciprocal?” Joan Commons, San Diego Math Network
  • Turn Up the Volume: Routines for Eliciting Student Discourse in Math, Jennifer Carr, Roseanna Gudiño, Alvin Dunn I.B. World School, San Marcos Unified School District

  • Building Connections Using Clothesline, Audrey Mendivil, San Diego County Office of Education (picture above)

English Language Arts/English Language Development
  • Using Thinking Routines to Develop Deeper Thinkers and Writers, Marisa Chaniot, Geri Little, San Diego Area Writing Project, Chula Vista Hills Elementary School, Chula Vista Elementary School District (pictured above)
  • Getting in Depth with Quote Analysis, Jessica Arroyo, Granger Junior High School, Sweetwater Union High School District
  • How Can Local Control in CA Support English Language Learner Success? Theresa A. Meyerott, Education Evolved
  • Integrating ELA, ELD, VAPA, and the Social Justice Standards: A Lesson Demonstration, Sarah G. Peterson, California Reading & Literature Project; Ashley Trzcinski, National School District
  • Creating a Sense of Classroom Community: Building Rapport and Using Our Classrooms as a Tool for Learning, Rosa Lizeth Valdez, Serra High School, San Diego Unified School District

  • Teaching Science Through the ELA and Math Lens, Kathryn Schulz, San Diego Science Project; Janice Anderson, Thomas Courtney (pictured above), Marci Sponsler, San Diego Unified School District
  • Will it sink or float? Uncovering and Maximizing Students’ Misconceptions in Science, Melissa Han, Sharon Fargason, Baker Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District; Rusty Bresser, Department of Education Studies, UC San Diego

Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Strategies for Students’ Academic Language Development and Achievement: Lessons from Research on Deaf Bilingual Students’ Video Technology-mediated ASL Literacy Practices, Alex Zernovoj, San Diego Unified School District (pictured above)
  • Supporting Children’s Language and Literacy development through the use of Digital Bilingual Storybook Apps, Melissa Herzig, Gallaudet University
  • Co-teaching & Collaboration: A Model for Supporting the Needs of Deaf Students in General Education, Amanda Templeton, Creative Performing and Media Arts Magnet Middle School, San Diego Unified School District
Additional Subject Areas
  • Theatre in the PBL Classroom, Wendy Maples, High Tech High School Chula Vista (pictured above)
  • Trauma Informed Practices for Schools (TIPS), Susanne Terry, Mindy Kukich, San Diego County Office of Education
  • Socially and Emotionally Responsive Classrooms for All Students, Christoforos Mamas, Department of Education Studies, UC San Diego; Alexa Corniel, Solana Beach School District; Anita Caduff, PhD student, Department of Education Studies, UC San Diego

  • Historias de Migración: Serving Binational Students in the U.S. and Mexico, Megan Hopkins, Cheryl Forbes, Maxie Gluckman, PhD student, Department of Education Studies, UC San Diego; Monica Morales Diaz, Escuela Normal Fronteriza Tijuana; Gabriel Lopez, Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Tijuana (Maxie Gluckman, left; and Monica Morales Diaz, pictured above.)


Attendees took advantage of the social media photo booth. After the conference, many attendees stayed to indulge in an ice cream social to celebrate the event’s five-year anniversary.


CREATE Associate Director Susan Yonezawa opens the conference by honoring the spirit of the late Dr. Jim Rohr, a passionate local advocate for equity in learning opportunity.

In Memoriam

The 2018 EDS/CREATE conference, “Engaging Today’s Student: Sharing What Works,” was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Jim Rohr, who passed away April 22, 2018. A beloved colleague of UC San Diego educators, Jim worked tirelessly to spread the excitement of science discovery and learning to thousands of teachers, students and families throughout the region. Jim’s spirit and belief in educational equity and his exhilaration for learning will continue to inspire those he touched.

If you’d like to be a presenter at next year’s EDS/CREATE Teaching and Learning Conference, contact us at