Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year at Jenison Public Schools!
We hope you enjoyed our summer series on student writing and if you’re new to the blog, we hope you’ll subscribe and check in with us every Thursday to celebrate the great things happening in our schools!
To kick off the year, all JPS teachers participated in three days of professional development centered around the yearlong theme of “Celebrating our Successes”. As parents can appreciate, teachers are so busy during the school year that they often miss out on learning from and celebrating with each other. According to Curriculum Director, Kristy Rogalla, “With the busy school schedule, meeting kids needs at every level, preparing lessons and meeting the many requirements from the State, we do not always take [or have] the time to slow down and celebrate the amazing happenings and successes at JPS!” Professional development throughout the year will provide opportunities for celebration in an effort to be “more mindful [and] purposeful about celebrating individual and team successes in our buildings”.
During the year, professional development will continue with Classroom Learning Labs which aim to provide a more consistent and collaborative curriculum. During this first training, elementary teachers attended literacy sessions led by our own experienced, talented and amazing staff! “All elementary teachers were asked to select three of eighteen sessions to attend to learn or solidify what they know about reading, writing, math workshop, student assessment, literacy instruction, how students learn, and differentiation of instruction.”
Twenty eight JPS staff members across the district from Transitional Kindergarten through Junior High, led the sessions teachers attended. “The sessions were powerful and dynamic with staff from different buildings and different grade levels sharing and learning from each other! We ended our day with grade level team time to reflect on the learning and set instructional goals for the year to best impact our students.”
Additionally, teachers took time to create Literacy Belief Statements which were based on research about the best practices in literacy education and the statements will be posted in a visible location in each elementary building. “Each month we will focus on one of these belief statements and how it fits with literacy instruction. Teachers are participating in a self-select book study centered around these statements where conversations and collaboration will take place every month. Leading the discussion and learning is Janet Schultz, our new district Literacy Coach. Janet has been teaching for fourteen years at Jenison Public Schools and will be supporting the instructional collaboration and literacy learning!”
Teachers are looking forward to seeing more of this type of professional development at Jenison and are excited to start the year: “It was noted by one staff member that “it was one of the most encouraging and motivating three days”!”