What happens on Professional Development Days? By Kelley King
The kids have a long weekend….but why? Teachers, just like doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals, need ongoing training and professional development to improve their skills and to learn about the newest approaches in the field. Professional development days (we have 3 to 4 during every school year) are not only an essential part of each teacher’s growth, but also an important opportunity to collaborate on curriculum development and learn together as a faculty.
Since January, we have had three professional development days and we have one more coming up on April 20th.
Here are some of the things we’ve been learning about:
Executive functioning: Local psychologist Dr. Lewis Ribner taught us about how to support children with learning differences in the areas of executive functioning and attention.
Dyslexia: Kelli Sandman-Hurley of the Dyslexia Training Institute led us through an eye-opening simulation so that teachers could experience the academic and emotional challenges of dyslexia. We also learned how many of the phonological ‘tricks’ of English can be taught through a historical understanding of how English evolved. For example, there is a fascinating reason that the word ‘two’ is spelled with a ‘w.’
Anti-bias training: Through the Anti-Defamation League, we started a very important conversation about bias and came to understand how unconscious bias exists in all of us. In order to help our students in this area, we need to start first with ourselves.
School Improvement: We engaged in a valuable brainstorming session about how to take GMLS to the next level, to be the best of the best. Where can we improve? How can we offer the best educational experience possible to our students?
Reading Instruction: We read and discussed articles about reading instruction and students’ exposure to complex texts (specifically, how and when we use books leveled to the child’s instructional level versus using books that are a bit beyond the child’s reach, but with teacher direction and support).
Hebrew/Judaic: Teachers have been busy planning their Passover programs and end-of-year programs, as well as the activities for the Memorial days of Passover, Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.
Canvas: All teachers will receive next-level training in the use of our new learning management system, Canvas. Our goal is for teachers to learn to use more of the features and to improve their use, and your experience with, the communication tools embedded in the system.
Physical Education: Coach Chambers had an incredible opportunity to be coached by a 40+ year physical education teacher veteran and world-renowned jump rope coach, Rich Cendali (known affectionately as the “Grandfather of Jump-Roping”), on bringing new and exciting units (including jump roping!) to GMLS.
Thanks for taking a moment to read through just a few of the many exciting professional development opportunities that are keeping our teachers sharp. Teachers are every school’s most valuable resource and we know they make a tremendous difference in the life of your child and every child.