Launching INquiry a highlight for Hamilton Southeastern teachers over summer

Hamilton Southeastern teachers learn at Launching INquiry over the summer. (Submitted photo)

Hamilton Southeastern teachers learn at Launching INquiry over the summer. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Susan Drumm

A highlight of summer 2016 for many Hamilton Southeastern teachers was Launching INquiry, our Summer of eLearning Conference sponsored by the Indiana Dept. of Education. With two inspirational keynote speakers, more than 80 different breakout sessions, and time to collaborate with colleagues, teachers left the two-day event brimming with new ideas to spark inquiry in their classrooms.

As an instructional technology coach, I’ve had many opportunities to come alongside teachers who’ve been inspired at conferences. Teachers passionately describe how a particular best practice innovation could deepen learning in their classroom – and they can’t wait to implement this component. Too often, however, teachers’ dreams of innovation are ultimately abandoned. Why? Lack of devoted funds.

This summer’s conference story had a happier ending, thanks in large part to assistance from the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation. During our summer conference, the Foundation partnered with us to conduct a teacher grant competition, “innovation mini-grants,” we called them. Though these mini-grants were funded primarily through conference exhibitor fees, it was the Foundation that provided the technical know-how and resources to partner with exhibitors, and to design and run the grant competition.

Each summer grant award – from BreakoutEDU kits to makerspace materials to a kindergarten water wall — was aimed at jump-starting inquiry with students by giving teachers the funds needed to get projects off the ground.

HSSF brings a unique and valued vantage point to my work as an HSE educator. I hope this Giving Tuesday you’ll be unselfie and give to the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation at to enable this this dynamic organization to continue as our valued partner in learning.

Each Tuesday in November, Hamilton Southeastern Schools is highlighting teachers and students to spotlight where Giving Tuesday funds go. Giving Tuesday is Nov. 29. For more, visit