Teachers Take Time to Learn

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Professional Development is an important part of any job but especially for our teachers and administrators.  Last Tuesday, February 18 Jenison teachers and administrators were given the opportunity to be the students and learn new and exciting teaching methods. 

Discovery Education came to the district to teach two seminars for our Elementary teachers:

Literacy and Common Core in a Digital World Discovery which is heavy with focus on English Language Arts and
Teaching and Assessing Math in a Common Core Digital World which has a focus in Math.
Curriculum Director, Kristy Rogalla explains what each of these Academies meant to teachers attending:
“We were fortunate to be selected to host the Academic Academies in Michigan this spring. We have been incorporating the anchor standards of the common core this school year. Specifically, we have been working on increasing the depth of knowledge of tasks and questions asked of students, student engagement, informational literacy, using learning targets to guide instruction and turning these into student friendly “I can” statements so students understand the purpose and outcomes of lessons and more.  When we had the opportunity to enhance the learning of our staff with the highly skilled Discovery trainers, it was an opportunity we could not pass up.  The trainers are also skilled in teaching staff how to use technology as a tool increase student engagement and outcomes.”
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Also attending the training were about 160 educators from other parts of the state including the Upper Peninsula.  “Discovery provides high quality training’s and fortunately these most recent ones were free. The trainers traveled from a few places around the country.”
Teachers were grateful for the training and are already making plans to implement what they were taught into their lessons.
“The Discovery Education Math Academy (Teaching and Assessing Common Core Math in a Digital World) was a wonderful professional development experience.  Not only were we able to gain a better sense of how the new standards require students to demonstrate a variety of skills — from students’ fact fluency to their ability to solve rigorous, real-world problems — the workshop also highlighted many digital tools and resources that teachers will be able to integrate into their classrooms right away.  We have such wonderful technology here at Jenison, and I am excited to use some of the tools to enhance my instruction.”  — Julie Clark, 4th Grade Teacher, Sandy Hill Elementary
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Principals also attending the Academies [as well as an additional day of Discovery Training on Wednesday] and Rachael Postle-Brown, Pinewood Principal, echoes Julie’s gratitude and excitement:
“What I hope teachers took away from the Professional Development was a deeper understanding of the Common Core State Standards and some tools to help integrate them into their classroom.  The Discovery presenters did a really nice job of showing digital tools that will help our instructors use technology to engage our students in meaningful problem solving and application.”
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The High School staff had their own day of Professional Development focusing on adolescent brain development and the brain functioning and connections. The goal of the High School in-service was to kick off the curriculum initiative for the second semester which is focused on creating innovative multidisciplinary projects.  “We know that learning is more powerful when students see connections across content areas.  Integrated studies provide opportunities for students to think critically and creatively, to apply their learning to real-world situations, to use literacy strategies with new technologies, and to develop interpersonal skills that will be essential to their success in a rapidly changing world.” — Eileen Maday, Curriculum Specialist at Jenison High School
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“We began our day with a presentation from Donna St. John of Kendall College and the Brain Institute.  Our goal was to gain a better understanding of how brain function impacts learning.  The presentation included a dissection activity in which we studied the anatomy of the brain and the latest research on how to engage students to harness the power of the brain as we teach.  It was fascinating!  Empowered with this information, our staff is now working on developing multidisciplinary projects which connect content areas in new and exciting ways.”

Thank you, teachers, for continuing to dedicate yourselves to lifelong learning for our students!

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