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Pitt County teachers share strategies, gear up for new school year

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Teachers in Pitt County aren't letting budget cuts stop them from getting ready for students.

More than 700 of them are already in the classroom sharing strategies.

"It's one of the few times in the year where teachers from different schools get to work with each other and talk about shared best practices," says Thomas Feller, Pitt County Schools' Race to the Top coordinator.

It's called the "Curriculum Summer Institute" and there are more than 80 breakout sessions. Teachers talk curriculum, teaching strategies and share ways to integrate technology in the classroom.

"Especially in designing assessments, measuring student progress on standards and actually getting feedback really quick, technology has made a big impact," Feller says.

From guest speakers to subject review, it's an invaluable experience for first-time teachers like Elizabeth Padrick.  

"It's a wealth of knowledge," Padrick says. "You have so many different teachers in there on many different levels. Some of them have been teaching many years, but they're still brand new to the program, so all of us are really learning a whole lot together."

Harsh state-wide budget cuts to education still weigh heavily on their minds.

"You're really cutting the children," Padrick says. "You're cutting what they need to learn and what they need."

But this week is all about doing the most with the limited resources they have.

"It's a huge responsibility," Padrick says of her profession. "We are teaching the future leaders of our country. I want to be one of those teachers where a student stands up and says, ‘I remember her!' And they're the president of the United States. I want to be one of those teachers," she laughs.  

School starts in most counties across the state on Aug. 26.  

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