I recently had the opportunity to talk to SGVCUE Board Members April Buege, James Kosako, and Katie Warren. Our interview centered around their affiliate’s popular “Coffee Break” events – a unique experience that began back in 2007 and focuses on bringing high-quality professional learning to their local affiliate members.

KO: For those who don’t know, explain what a SGVCUE “Coffee Break” is? How is it different from other events you offer?      

SGVCUE: Our Coffee Breaks are 3-hour workshops that allow our members to get hands-on experience and grow skills that are focused on a single topic. These workshops are presented in a comfortable environment where breakfast, coffee, and other treats are provided. This environment sets the tone not only for learning but asking questions and building relationships. 

The original intent for the SGVCUE Coffee Break was to offer professional development for our members that would have a deeper focus on a single topic, more specifically in the realm of technology. The Coffee Breaks also allow us to bring top notch presenters into a small group setting where they can answer the questions that arise while members actively learn and understand how to create during the presentation itself. 

KO: When did SGVCUE start having these events? Why did SGVCUE start having “Coffee Breaks”?   

SGVCUE: Coffee Breaks began around 2007. They were offered to our members so that they could have an opportunity to have PD with a deeper focus and a hands-on experience. Often they were taught by presenters from our annual Tech Fair, now our Innovation Celebration. Our attendees requested more time to really get to know the subject matter. Members wanted to be able to spend more on a specific topic than the usual 50 minutes that a conference session provides. As a result, the SGVCUE Coffee Break was born.  

KO: Why are these events important for your affiliate? 

SGVCUE: The Coffee Break has become a SGVCUE signature event. Offered 3-5 times a year, they make us unique as no other affiliate offers this type of event during the school year.

Coffee Breaks are vital to our community because they not only provide quality content to our members but also provide a place to connect with other like-minded educators. There is always a little downtime worked into the workshop which allows for chatting and exchanging of contact info.

KO: What do you hope your affiliate members get out of attending one of these Coffee Breaks?

SGVCUE: Coffee Breaks provide a more relaxed atmosphere for learning about a specific topic. Attendees are able to network and share on a more casual basis as they learn to create what is being presented. Strategies are discussed and choices are made as to how best to integrate new knowledge into their existing curriculum. Coffee and breakfast treats are enjoyed during the morning, adding to comfortable networking. 

We hope our members build skills that they can use at their sites, gain confidence with the content presented, and feel a richer connection to their SGVCUE community. 

KO: What upcoming events would you like to share with the rest of the CUE community?

Please join us Saturday, January 30th for “Seesaw Does It All!” presented by Jennifer Dean and Saturday, February 27th for “Hello, My Name is Canvas.” presented by Melissa Miller.

KO: What does CUE mean to SGVCUE?

SGVCUE: SGVCUE’s mission, to support educators, grows directly from the amazing work CUE has done since its founding in 1978. CUE is the place where each of us found amazing content and pedagogy that changed our classrooms for the better. Even more, we found a community of supportive and innovative educators with whom we can share, grow, and connect.

CUE sparks curiosity, pushes us to innovate, and gives us permission to take the risks that benefit our students to the greatest degree. We hope that our SGVCUE members feel that their affiliate is like an immediate family within the larger CUE family – a place that they can always reach out, be heard, and be supported.

About Kristin Oropeza
Kristin is a full-time special education teacher, contract consultant, and educational content writer. She is a Google Certified Teacher (Level 1 and 2), Google Certified Trainer, and MIE Expert for 2020-2021.