As educators, we value creating a community of learners both for children and adults—teachers and parents alike. The best way to help our students be life-long learners is to model this expectation in our lives, and we do so with ongoing professional development.
There are several avenues of professional development and learning available to teachers throughout the year, from books, to on-campus presentations, to off-site conferences. Division Leaders choose texts to discuss during their monthly division meetings. This year, the books are:
Interactions by Marilyn Friend and Lynne Cook (Beginners)
How the Brain Learns to Read by David Sousa (Primary)
Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (Elementary)
Yardsticks by Chip Wood (Specialists)
During monthly staff meetings, teachers present information from the texts so everyone benefits from the readings and discussions. Also during the staff meetings, administrators provide training on topics such as strategic planning, communication skills, executive functions and different learning styles.
Opportunities for learning abound off-campus as well. In January, many teachers attend the Montessori Schools of Massachusetts conference at Dean College. Each year, four teachers attend the national American Montessori Society conference and then share what they learned at the following staff meeting. Three NMS teachers (Becky Alukonis, Ruth Clifford and Krissy Canastar) will be presenting at the 2017 conference in San Diego! All throughout the year, teachers attend workshops and classes to expand their skills and learning in areas such as sensory integration, handwriting, and Responsive Classroom to name just a few.
Parents have opportunities for learning as well. Coming soon, the Parent Association will sponsor evening discussion groups about parenting strategies and resources. Just as teachers learn from one another when observing each other’s classes, parents can also learn from one another by sharing experiences and strategies. Stay tuned for more details about the Empowered Parents groups starting in 2017.
Over the coming months, I will share more detail about our professional development topics—I hope the blogs pique your interest and offer you some new information and insights.