Eastern Illinois University is continuing to take a lead in the fight against bullying.
“With bullying, suicide, depression and many other behavioral challenges that cause anxiety, our focus is on prevention and intervention,” said Mildred Pearson, founder and director of the “A Time for Prevention: A Bridge to Intervention” conference, set to take place on the Charleston campus on Friday, Oct. 2. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We believe that equipping students, teachers, faculty, staff and other professionals is essential; therefore, (we) offer an annual conference for professional development on evidenced-based Social and Emotional Learning and extensive conversations around strategies to enhance teaching and learning.”
The conference, now in its fifth year, is a product of EIU’s Bridging Voices in Our Community project, which serves as a catalyst to help educate and equip learning communities in the area of bullying prevention. The cost is $50, which includes all presentations, handouts, a continental breakfast, luncheon and six CPDH credits. Admission for student attendees is free.
Last year’s conference hosted 300 teachers, community members and interested students. The conference integrates various disciplines and departments across the EIU campus while forming partnerships with other universities to provide high impact practices and great programming.
The event has nationally recognized experts, along with several local speakers, scheduled to talk as part of the program. Melissa Schligner, vice president of practice for Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), will present the keynote address, “Promoting Positive Students: Social and Emotional Learning and Bullying Prevention.”
Other presenters from throughout Illinois and the EIU campus will discuss topics (concurrently) such as “Unleashing Student Strengths: Focusing on What Makes Students Great,” “Building Social Resilience and Responsibility in Children,” “Teacher Victimization: What You Need to Know and What to Do About It,” “It’s Bad for Business: Bullying in the Workplace,” “Anti-bullying Laws in Illinois,” “Racial Bullying: Can Minority Students Survive and Thrive in the Academy,” “Bullying and Suicide” and “Building Relationships with At-risk Students.”
Additionally, Pearson said "there are new components to the conference, which includes undergraduate and graduate poster sessions and round-table discussions. The focus of the roundtable informal dialogue is to highlight the five competencies of Social and Emotional Learning and discuss ways to integrate each of them in every facet of our lives."
The conference will also include a theatrical production of “Gidion’s Knot” by Johanna Adams and directed by J. Kevin Doolen. (Extra charge required.)
A complete list of speakers, short bios and subject topics, as well as online registration can be found at the conference’s website. The registration deadline is noon Thursday, Oct. 1. You may also call 217-512-9421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
“This conference will serve as a time for learning communities to unite and promote bullying intervention,” Pearson said. “We are asking administrators, professors, teachers, coaches and other school personnel to join us from around the four corners of the state in becoming a ‘human bridge’ as we come together and serve as voices against bullying."