What Happens On Professional Learning Days?

People often wonder what happens on professional learning days that schools organize throughout the year. I hold these days in high regard because they move learning forward. Being an excellent teacher is a rewarding but busy career. When I was a teacher I often felt the best description for non-teachers was to imagine holding a six hour meeting every single day. In that meeting there are a number of topics on the agenda that may or may not intertwine together and each agenda item has a shared intention and result. During that meeting of up to 25 people, you are responsible for ensuring the participation and shared success of all. Think of the people in your place of business. What are the challenges you would foresee, what are the personalities and what are the wins you know you will have? It does not end there though. After your day of meetings you will assess the success of all, and then plan for the next day with those same people, and on it goes throughout the year. This is something teachers do joyfully, with firm commitment and an incredible amount of hard work.

So, when professional learning days come along, it  is the opportunity for the teachers to have time to focus on their craft, and this week they did just that. On Sunday and Monday our teachers engaged in K-12 and grade level meetings, but the highlight for me was the professional sharing our teachers engaged in with one another. Using our elementary divisional learning goals as the foundation for workshops, our teachers, educational assistants and leadership team, led, supported and participated in an incredible array of creative and engaging workshops that will enhance the learning of students across our division. Our two days were full of progressive and forward thinking ideas that challenged our assumptions, enhanced our practice, built capacity in our community and created a sense of interconnectedness that makes our school such a special place to be as educators and learners.

OUR GOALS

Overall Guiding Question: How will we challenge each child to fulfill their own personal excellence?

  1. Our students will be able to meaningfully engage with Solution Fluency and embed inquirybased skills and thinking in their own learning.
  2. Our students will be achieving personal excellence in their reading and communication skills through continued implementation of our balanced literacy framework into everyday literacy learning.
  3. Our students will be further developing their conceptual and foundational numeracy skills through a scaffolded and consistent balanced numeracy program that emphasizes conceptual understanding, math facts and real-world learning.
  4. Our school community will be an interconnected community that continues to learn from one another.

WORKSHOPS IN SUPPORT OF OUR GOALS

Workshop TitleLearning Leader
Supporting our Students in Identifying Themselves as Learners Through the Learner Assets Ms. Adams
Learning through the Fine Arts. It’s More Powerful Than you Might ThinkMs. Sheikh
Making Recess Happen in a Time of COVID Ms. McPherson
New to Reading and Writing Workshop? This will Blow Your Mind Ms. Ayoub-Hansen, Ms. Swartz
Mathematical Mindsets – Shaping Math MindsMr. Schoenberg, Mr. Sprague
Creating Digital Student Portfolios. From Beta to RealityMs. Rawdah
Making our Learning Visible through the Creation of Learning Process Boards. A Hands-on ApproachMs. Hitchcock
Diving into Making Solution Fluency Happen  Ms. Long, Ms. Jones-Owens
Applying the Power of Everyone Can Code Ms. McKellar
Delving into Story Workshop Ms. Palendat
Podcasting: The Next Generation Ms. Zimmer
Supporting our Students in Achieving their Personal Excellence. Personalizing Learning for All Ms. Psycharis, Ms. Crawford
Diving Deeper into DiversityMs. Jones-Owens
Librarians! We Know How to ResearchMs. Palendat

A FINAL THOUGHT

This fall has been one-of-a-kind. As leaders and educators our community is always focused on creating the best learning experience for our students. COVID has created an ever-changing environment based on new science, new policies and new expectations and we do our absolute best to be proactive, well-informed and act accordingly. This fall there have been a number of times where we have made changes, some last minute, that we have done with the best of intentions, but not always without challenges that impact our community. As always, we apologize for any inconveniences our decisions cause, but please know we are doing our best and we are so thankful and grateful for the trust the community has shown in all we do. These are challenging times for students, parents, teachers, staff, and leaders as COVID seems to be a marathon, more than a sprint, and we are incredibly appreciative of the trust you put in us to ensure your child grows in their own excellence as a learner and impactful global citizen.

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