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Author Bio: Dr. Burns (@Dr_TravisBurns) is a Virginia Middle School Principal.
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In October of 2012, Virginia educators launched Virginia Chat (#VAchat). Virginia Chat (#VAchat) is a regional real-time Professional Learning Network (PLN) experience hosted on a weekly basis by Virginia school administrators via the social medium Twitter. Virginia Chat was founded by Travis Burns (@Dr_TravisBurns), Principal of Page Middle School in Gloucester, Virginia, and Phil Griffin (@philgriffins), Assistant Principal of Norge Elementary School in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The purpose of Virginia Chat (#VAchat) is to provide educators with opportunities to engage colleagues across Virginia in real-time and meaningful conversations on special topics related to improving public education across the Commonwealth. Superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, reading specialists, speech pathologists, and anyone affiliated with or interested in public education are welcome to participate in Virginia Chat (#VAchat) conversations. Participants have also included teachers and school officials from across the country and Canada.
Conversations are hosted on Mondays at 8 pm EST on a weekly basis. Conversations are archived and forwarded to participants for purposes of further reflection. Previous Virginia Chat conversations include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Teacher Evaluation and Relationship to Student Achievement – February 25, 2013
  • Teacher Feedback – February 18, 2013
  • Education Policy Trends – February 11, 2013
  • Open Discussion Format – January 28, 2013
  • Public Education and the Legacy of Martin L. King – January 21, 2013
  • School Safety and Security – January 14, 2013
  • Math Instruction – January 7, 2013
  • School Discipline – December 10, 2012
  • Family Engagement and Student Achievement – November 19, 2012
  • Homework Practices – November 12, 2012
  • Teacher Voice and Dissent in Schools – November 5, 2012
  • School Climate and Student Achievement – October 22, 2012

The success of Virginia Chat (#VAchat) depends on Virginia educators willing to serve as either moderators and/or participants during real-time chat sessions. Moderators and participants make connections with other educators while gaining valuable professional growth experiences that perhaps serve to enhance the quality of educational programs and services at all levels of public education.
The role of a moderator is to welcome participants, pose questions for reflection, record time, keep the conversation going, and invite participants to the next regularly scheduled chat session.  Moderators have included principals, assistant principals, and superintendents. Capacity and momentum are built by promoting Virginia Chat through other successful chat forums such as Education Chat (#EDchat), California Edchat (#CAedchat), Education Chat Rhode Island (#edchatRI), Wisconsin Chat (#WISchat), Ohio Edchat (#OHedchat), EdChat Massachusetts (#edchatMA), and North Carolina Administrators (#NCadmin).
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