We have three days during the school year where the students do not come to school, but our staff report for staff development, or inservice. We do our best to plan a variety of different learning activities for our staff, and we want to be sure that the time is well-spent with teachers learning things that can have an impact the way we teach our students.
In January, our staff attended the West Central Winter Symposium, a training day in which attendees are able to choose the training sessions that best suit their needs. This year was the second year that we attended the event, and it was bigger and better this year! Seven schools committed to the day – Garretson, Baltic, Tri-Valley, Madison, Colman-Egan, Montrose and West Central. One of the hallmarks of this day-long training event is that the presenters are generally teachers and administrators who are doing the work in schools. Our teachers report that learning from our peers is a positive experience, and also presents great opportunities for building a professional network of peers.
We are proud of the staff at the Garretson School District who took the risk to be a presenter for the program. We had six presentations attributed to our staff:
- Amy Thompson (speech therapist) and Julie Hersom (first grade) teamed up to offer “A Multi-Sensory Approach to Phonics.”
- Alyxa Hoefert-Veldhuizen (kindergarten) presented “Class Dojo (a behavior management app) and Brain Breaks in the Classroom”
- Jodi Neugebauer (second grade) and Teresa Johnson (elementary principal) paired up to tell others about our implementation of Inquiry-based learning and Genius Hour in the elementary classroom
- Kelsey Buchholz (HS english) shared research and practical knowledge regarding Movement in the High School Classroom
- Dave Mudder (PE) presented to peers the many strategies he uses in the physical education classroom in “Shoot from the Hip”
- Chris Long shared lessons learned in Parent Communication through ICU and Teacher-Initiated Communications.
We are proud of our staff members who were willing to take the risk to present to their peers! The strength of professional development days like the West Central Winter Symposium comes from teachers from all of these different districts sharing what they know works well in their classrooms. We’ve got experts doing great things in the classrooms in our district. The Symposium was a great opportunity for them to share that expertise and build a network of professional peers that will help us to serve our students more effectively in the classroom!