Smart Start to host professional development conference for educators and support staff

Smart Start to host professional development conference for educators and support staff
February 22
09:47 2023

Smart Start of Forsyth County (SSFC) is looking to bring educators across the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School district and surrounding districts together. On Saturday, Feb. 25, Smart Start will host the Childcare Providers Unite Early Educators Conference at Atkins High School. 

The Childcare Providers Unite Early Educators Conference is open to teachers, directors, and support staff and will provide great professional development that is aligned with Smart Start’s Strategic Priorities and opportunities to receive training credit hours. Conference sessions will cover a number of topics including; Trauma Informed Practices, Intentional Teacher-Child Interactions, Teaching with Empathy, ACES-Reversing Outcomes of Traumatic Situations, and many more.The keynote address will be devolved by Tricia McManus, superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

SSFC Chief Program Officer Tabitha McAllister said every session offered during the conference is designed to help educators sharpen their skills. She mentioned the sessions are geared towards the challenges of today. “We want to make sure that they’re able to address their mental health needs, their needs around trauma and stress,” McAllister continued.

“It’s important that we feed them in those areas as well so they can be strong and healthy as they continue the work they do with our young children.” 

While the focus of the conference will be on professional development, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. In addition to the breakout sessions and keynote speaker, attendees will also have the opportunity to win prizes, play games, and fellowship with peers. Lunch will also be provided and several vendors have already signed up to participate.

“They won’t just be sitting in a classroom being spoken to, the sessions are going to be interactive,” McAllister continued. “…I tell my team here at work, let’s work but let’s have fun while we’re working and I say the same thing to our conference participants. Come and learn but have fun while you’re learning.

“They’ll be able to network with other educators in the county they may know or may not know. It’s just a way to bring all of the childcare providers together so that they can feed off each other.”

Established in 1993, under the leadership of Gov. Jim Hunt as a state-wide public/private partnership to help children across North Carolina succeed, Smart Start works to ensure that children birth to age five are prepared for success in school and life. Throughout the year, Smart Start also offers professional development training, educator resources, and coaching/mentoring opportunities. According to their website SSFC “assists professionals as they strive to establish new childcare facilities, improve the quality of existing centers, and enhance early education offerings. Facilities can work with us to prepare for licensing, understand the childcare star rating system, and incorporate N.C. Pre-K classrooms into their centers.”

The conference is free to all educators in Forsyth County and $10 for educators from outside counties. Groups of 10 register for $75. To register visit 

For more information, email Vanessa Sawyer, 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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