Share Fair Nation chooses Irmo High School as site of 20th educator, community event

A Denver-based educational foundation is bringing its innovative approach to professional development to Irmo.

Lexington-Richland Five and Irmo High School have been chosen as the site of the 20th Share Fair this fall. The event is put on and sponsored by the Morgridge Family Foundation, led by vice president Carrie Morgridge and her husband John, president of the foundation and former CEO of Cisco Systems.

Since its inception in 2009, Share Fair has brought together thousands of educators for the purpose of sharing best practices and giving them tools and ideas to increase the effectiveness of their instruction.

“We teach teachers,” Carrie Morgridge said.

Philanthropist Carrie Morgridge talks to veterinary science students in Lexington-Richland Five. (photo by Rachel Ham)

Philanthropist Carrie Morgridge talks to veterinary science students in Lexington-Richland Five. (photo by Rachel Ham)

Instructors learn how to use technology effectively, share lesson plans and collaborate with others to make learning fresh. Each Share Fair offers 16 to 25 workshops to give teachers a variety of topics to choose from during the event. The event is open to educators statewide, and people who work with children at a museum, library or child development center are also invited.

“We need students to think critically and change the way we teach accordingly,” Morgridge said. “Learning doesn’t have to be in a row-seating environment.”

Morgridge said effective instruction affects test scores which in turn impact a student’s ability to attend a good college and land a good job.

Wanting to get kids in on the fun, Share Fair Nation organizers created the STEAMosphere, which highlights the vital areas of science, technology, engineering, art and math. The free expo during the Share Fair is full of hands-on activities for students and teachers designed to “inspire and engage” them, Morgridge said.

The STEAMosphere gives students access to interactive lessons on life skills like financial literacy, creative writing and health and wellness in addition to science and math. Parents and young children are invited to participate, too.

“We are thrilled that Share Fair Nation is returning to South Carolina, and even more excited that Irmo High School has been selected to host this event. This event focuses on 21st century skills, problem-based learning, and hands-on activities for students of all ages,” Irmo High principal David Riegel said. “We think that by hosting this event at Irmo High School International School of the Arts, we can add the arts dimension to STEM education in a dynamic way. Our students and staff can’t wait for Share Fair.”

Building activities give students a lesson on engineering through fun competition. (photo provided)

Building activities give students a lesson on engineering through fun competition. (photo provided)

Share Fair Nation came to River Bluff High in March through a partnership with the University of South Carolina. Morgridge said the Morgridge Family Foundation was impressed with Lexington-Richland Five’s “cutting-edge” and “open-minded” approach to education and decided to return to the area to reach more Midlands educators.

“We look forward to hosting this event and to the rich lessons that students, educators and members of the public will gain from the Share Fair,” Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner said.

Visit sharefairnation.com to register for the Nov. 14 Share Fair.

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