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On November 6, the day school was closed for students, your children's teachers attended a day of professional development led by colleagues as well as consultants.
The Professional Learning Day, set up by Mary Ford, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and the district’s staff developers, allowed each teacher to attend three sessions and participate in grade level department work.
Sessions ranged from toolkits for small group reading and writing to workshops on integrating technology into the classroom.
Teachers could choose one of two films to begin the day: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the documentary about Fred Rogers, star of PBS's “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,” known for talking to children about their emotions, and “Most Likely to Succeed,” a documentary that explores conventional education’s effectiveness in preparing children for today’s innovative world. Discussion with school principals followed each.
Technology sessions included workshops on education-specific tools Story Jumper, SeeSaw, and Flipgrid as well as instruction in more commonly-used software. High school art teachers also took a workshop to learn how to use drawing software in order to comply with the National Art Education Association’s new standards for high school art.
“These sessions were in response to teachers’ requests," said Christopher Nelson, Director of Technology. “We’re committed to helping find the right tools for teachers."
Middle school teacher Marcia Daley Savo led a popular workshop on augmented and virtual reality. “We explored the platform Nearpod.com and virtually explored the Roman Coliseum,” said Daley-Savo. “We also used the Google Cardboard app and smartphones to explore YouTube 360. Teachers virtually explored the Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a refugee camp in Ethiopia all while making connections to the content that they teach.”
Middle school and high school science and math teachers attended Writing to Learn in the STEM Disciplines led by the Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking.
“I loved that the session included modeling and coaching,” said AnnMarie Lipinsky, Instructional Leader for Science at John Jay High School.