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Melissa Legate and Jennifer Troester sitting at the NeWP table during NETA
Melissa Legate and Jennifer Troester sitting at the NeWP table during NETA

The Nebraska Writing Project once again partnered with the Nebraska Education Technology Association (NETA) to be part of the NETA Spring Conference at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha April 19-20.

This year’s partnership was coordinated by NeWP advisory board members Jennifer Troester and Melissa Legate, who communicated with NeWP’s executive director throughout the school year. As part of this partnership, NeWP was able to feature a slide in the NETA Conference slide deck that promoted our organization and linked to the NeWP webpage. Additionally, NeWP had the opportunity to publish an article written by one of our affiliates in a monthly NETA newsletter. This year’s article was written by Jennifer Troester about her O’Neill 8th grade class’s writing partnership with co-director Rachael Shah’s class of UNL preservice teachers and was featured in the April issue of the NETA newsletter. One additional perk of the NeWP-NETA partnership was NETA’s promotion of our Summer Institute in February through its email list.

Perhaps the most significant benefit of the partnership with NETA was the chance for NeWP to present two breakout sessions at the conference. However, with two NeWP members submitting proposals of their own, the organization was represented in four breakout sessions. The first was titled “Digital Collaborations Across Schools: How to Build a Strong Online Writing Exchange” by Jennifer Troester and Rachael Shah. NeWP TC Jenny Bruck presented a session titled “Using Online Tools to Conference Grade,” which received tremendously positive feedback from several attendees. Melissa Legate also presented at the conference with a session on “Digital Discussion: Sharing Students’ Learning, Thinking, and Writing.” And finally, Rachel Jank presented her session titled “Every Student Gets a Website.”

For both days of the conference, NeWP promoted the many activities our organization sponsors for teachers, students, and communities with special emphasis given to promoting the Summer Institute, to which teachers could apply until April 30. Dozens of Nebraska teachers from a variety of grade levels and disciplines stopped by the information table and spoke with NeWP representatives Jennifer Bruck, Sarah Kroenke, Melissa Legate, Rachael Shah, and Jennifer Troester about what NeWP stands for and the opportunities it provides. Nearly thirty people gave their contact information in order to receive more information about NeWP and future events.

Also on Thursday, NeWP had the opportunity through the NETA partnership to host an evening event after the day’s final session. Jennifer Troester and Melissa Legate coordinated a Speed Geeking event in which participants could share their favorite educational technology strategies in presentations of five minutes or less. This year’s event was attended by Melissa and Jennifer, as well as advisory board member Brenda Larabee, her colleague, and Katie Morrow of ESU 8. Earlier promotion in future years should hopefully yield stronger attendance at this event.

The NETA conference continues to be an excellent way for NeWP to connect with passionate and innovative educators all across Nebraska and get the word out about the many quality programs our organization offers.

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