Hundreds of educational professionals attend Upper Peninsula Education Conference

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Instead of students sitting in the classroom, close to 900 teachers, administrators and other educational professionals across the Upper Peninsula came together on Friday at the Northern Center in Marquette for good times, laughs, but also to learn at the Upper Peninsula Education Conference.

"These conferences are so important because that collective knowing that we all have, and the energy that we get from each other... that's motivating,” said Joe Lubig, the Associate Dean for the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service at Northern Michigan University.

This two-day event, which started Thursday, had teachers on the opposite end, receiving instruction from a number of people.

"I am presenting on two topics of critical importance to educators. One is the teaching of analytical thinking skills, and the others is reducing vagueness in writing,” said Judy Puncochar, one of Friday’s presenters.

Puncochar believes these are important skills to teach in the classroom.

"We need to have educated citizens who are good thinkers and problem solvers,” she explained.

This knowledge wouldn't have been shared Friday if it weren't for the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children sponsoring the event and providing these resources.

"We're trying to strengthen the field of education across the state, and so we feel like there's an untapped market we haven't been able to reach, so we're really excited to be a part of this event,” said Ben Hicks, the President of the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children.

Along with giving teachers the tools they need to succeed, which sometimes are limited but Friday made possible.

"Opportunities like this between general education and special education, for teachers and administrators, to come out of their buildings is something we're really excited to be a part of,” said Rebecca McIntyre, the supervisor of special education within Michigan’s Department of Education, Special Education Offices for the Program Accountability Unit.

Organizers hope everyone who attended Friday's event will take the information they learned, and apply it in local school settings to give children what they need to be successful.