Over 600 members of Beyond Textbook partners, from 67 partnerships, traveled to Mica Mountain High School in the Vail School District from across the United States to attend the 2022 Beyond Textbooks Super Conference. Some flew, some like the partnership from the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, drove six hours to attend the conference.

Mica Mountain is the Vail School District’s newest high school located at 10800 E. Valencia Road.

Beyond Textbooks, the online resource and collaborative community created by teachers and district leaders in the Vail School District, is used by 124 partners in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, and Washington. Comprised of 8,000 plus teachers, the goal of Beyond Textbooks is to collaborate with schools to improve student achievement through implementation of the of the Vail School District’s proven teaching and learning framework, said Vail School District Superintendent John Carruth, who served as guest speaker for the conference.
Kathy Hoffman, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction holds an elected state executive position in the Arizona state government where she oversees the state of Arizona’s public school system and directs the state’s Department of Education, also served as a guest speaker.

Director of Beyond Textbooks Justin Chesebrough (left) waits with guest speaker Vail School District Superintendent John Carruth (right) before going on stage at BT’s Super Conference.

Joining Hoffman on the stage was Amanda VanDerHeyden Ph.D. Dr. VanDerHeyden is a nationally known consultant and researcher who has directed numerous school-wide intervention and reform efforts.

In addition to the speakers, there were 121 fifty-minute breakout sessions led by partner districts. The schedule allowed the choice of five sessions two in the morning and three in the afternoon. The sessions ranged from Computational Thinking and Coding in the Classroom, to Building Community Partners; from Connection is KEY to our Mental Health, to Getting All Teens Across the Finish line with Confidence; from Pick Me!!! Student Engagement Strategies to Suicide Prevention Tips for Primary Teachers; and from Positive Behavior Strategies to Growth Mindset: Empowering Students, just to name a few.

The man continuing the success of Beyond Textbooks to achieve is Director Justin Chesebrough.

Justin’s love for education is why he worked his way up with Beyond Textbooks to become director. In the position he has continued to grow the organization. He was one of the “40 under 40” emerging leaders in the Tucson community named by the Arizona Daily Star, he has served on the Arizona School Administrators Pima County representative and on the National Association of Elementary School Principals Arizona State as a representative. Justin is married to Elizabeth, a P.E. teacher in the Vail School District, and has two beautiful daughters ages fourteen and fifteen.

Working with Justin are Megan Folkers and Brent Edwards, sharing the title of Assistant Director, and Jennifer Estrada and Chelsea Scopellite both serve with the title of Beyond Textbooks Coordinator. Alexa Kirshy serves as Executive Assistant and Kristin King serves as Beyond Textbooks Facilitator. These positions complete Justin’s professional team.

Work has already begun for 2023 BT Super Conference with an analysis of the September 30, 2022 program. Beyond Textbook continues to put Vail Arizona on the national map.

By Anne Gibson

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