Growing the Southern Tier Learning Community: Continuing Professional Development for Middle Level Teachers
In conjunction with the Cattaraugus-Allegany Teacher Center and the Middle School Association, Cuba Rushford Middle/High School welcomed teachers from far and wide in their continued quest for learning at the Growing the Southern Tier Learning Community Conference this July.
Monica Kwiatkowski, a CRCS teacher and Middle School Association member, has spent the last year preparing for this countywide event, which is geared toward middle-level teachers looking for more opportunities for professional development. The 2014 conference offered teachers and administrators the opportunity to explore resources for teaching with the Common Core State Standards, how to conduct a close read, project-based learning in the language classroom, EdModo, Flipped Learning, and more.
Perhaps one of the major highlights of the day was an uplifting presentation from Stephen “Dr. Bird” Birchak, who spoke about the key components of establishing a positive well being day-in and day-out. Aside from encouraging people to have more self-love, he noted the importance of resiliency, particularly in education, where the bumps in the road often deter us from being our very best. “Resilience isn’t just accommodating change – it’s finding joy, hope, and compassion – in spite of life’s changes.” Birchak holds that resilient people see life for its possibilities, with an optimistic outlook, and they don’t let the growing pains of change interfere with their potential. In education, resiliency is something educators should not only encourage, but also teach to students. The ability to bounce back and learn from one’s trials and tribulations can set them on the path to success. As John Wooden states, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
With a variety of offerings and the opportunity to learn and grow as professionals in the field of education, 70 teachers and administrators hit the ground running, eager to learn tools to take back to schools and implement come Fall. With the words of Dr. Birchak resonating in their minds, encouraging them to be resilient and positive, many walked away having learned a valuable lesson.
After learning about how to flip a lesson, participants experienced a flipped lesson or two: how to make a S’MORE and parallel vs. perpendicular lines. In “class” the next day, they practiced the skills taught in the flipped video.
To check out the videos, scan the QR codes below!
By Lauren Stuff, CA BOCES