News from campus and beyond

Furman hosts Upstate Schools Consortium


Last updated February 1, 2018

By Tina Underwood

Launched in 1986, the Upstate Schools Consortium started as an organization comprised of member school districts and Furman University. Now, the Consortium represents 39 school districts, private schools, charter schools, and colleges and universities from the upper regions of South Carolina.

Hosted by the Furman Department of Education and Graduate Studies, the group of 340 educators recently met at Younts Conference Center on campus to attend the third in a series of four professional development seminars for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Educators from around the Upstate gathered on campus Feb. 1 to hear Laney Sammons, author of “Guided Math.”

Headlining the Feb. 1 event was Laney Sammons, author of “Guided Math: A Framework for Elementary Math Instruction.” During her years in the classroom, Sammons developed the Guided Math framework as a way of meeting the diverse needs of all her students – from struggling learners to those who quickly mastered concepts and needed additional challenges.

When her Guided Math approach was implemented throughout her school, the results showed not only improvement in pass rates on state tests, but also increases in the percentage of students who exceeded the standards.

“Teachers, administrators and instructional coaches were eager to attend Laney’s seminar because of her expertise in Guided Math. During the session, Laney demonstrated how to implement differentiated instruction through the Guided Math model in order to meet the needs of all students. Everyone left the presentation with a packet of ideas and a lot of excitement about trying her approach,” said Connie McDowell, Furman coordinator of Upstate Schools Consortium.

Sammons, now retired from most of her consulting work, continues to share her ideas as an author. She collaborates with Education Resource Group and Guided Math Consulting to offer high-quality Guided Math professional development to schools and districts throughout the United States and Canada.

The next meeting of Upstate Schools Consortium takes place March 1 when noted New Hampshire writing coach and author Penny Kittle addresses middle and high school educators in her talk, “Book Love: Connecting Students to Books and Each Other.”

For more information, contact Connie McDowell, coordinator, Upstate Schools Consortium,, 864-294-3083.

Contact Us
Clinton Colmenares
Director of News and Media Strategy