The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith is bringing Drs. Harry and Rosemary Wong -- educators, educational speakers and authors -- to Fort Smith on Oct. 17 for a half-day co-curricular advisory conference aimed at area pre-service and career teachers.
The conference, slated for 8:15 a.m. until noon at the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center at the Fort Smith Convention Center, is free but requires an admission ticket. Tickets are only available in advance from the UAFS Box Office, 479-788-7300, and will not be available at the door.
The event is also open to the general public, according to Jennifer Jennings Davis, director of the Western Arkansas Education Renewal Zone at UAFS, which is sponsoring the conference.
“The Wongs are the most sought-after speakers in education and are typically booked two to four years in advance,” she said. “Just about anyone who’s taken an education course in the last 20 years or so has heard of Harry Wong and more than likely has read ‘The First Days of School,’ the book the Wongs co-wrote.”
“The First Days of School,” which has sold more than 3.8 million copies, was originally published in 1991 and has had additional revised editions published since. The book is a required text in UAFS Introduction to Education classes. Davis said she expects the event to be beneficial to all teachers.
“Their talk, the book and other publications empower and energize teachers with practical strategies that they can immediately implement in their classrooms,” Davis said. “Wong focuses on positive expectations for all students, classroom management techniques, mastery learning and characteristics of the professional educator.”
Harry Wong is a former award-winning high school science teacher and has received the Horace Mann Outstanding Educator Award and the National Teachers Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award, while Rosemary Wong, a former elementary teacher, has received the Silicon Valley Woman of Achievement Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southeastern Louisiana University College of Education and Louisiana State University College of Education. The Wongs received the Upton Sinclair Award and were nominated for the Brock International Prize in Education.
Davis said the Wongs will also feature Fort Smith Public School teacher Oretha Ferguson during the event. Ferguson was a finalist for Arkansas Teacher of the Year in 2010.
Davis said at least three universities -- the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of the Ozarks -- plan to bring students and faculty to the conference.
The Education Renewal Zone at UAFS is one of six ERZs in the state. It is a collaborative effort among 11 member school districts and 35 partner schools in the Arkansas River Valley. Its mission is to collaborate with pre-kindergarten through college educators, students, families and their supporting communities to combine efforts to improve achievement and learning experiences for all students.
For more information on the ERZ, contact Davis at 479-788-7256 or administrative assistant Jennifer Hodges at 479-788-7357.