IMPACT 2014 Highlights

When teachers are given the time to come together; terrific things are possible. This year, for the first time, we offered a variety of professional growth experiences for our teachers in several different areas. IMPACT 2014 still focused on developing critical thinking skills in our teachers and students, but we did not limit the number of participants or ask them to commit to an entire week of training. Over 60 teachers participated! Here are highlights from the week:Reading Street Ed Camp. This was a new concept for us. Teachers came with one idea, resource or method they used this year while implementing the new reading curriculum. They also came with one question, request or need they have as they think ahead to next year. We recorded all of our discussions on a shared Google Doc and left the session feeling affirmed and refreshed. Great job everyone!Creating PBL Units. This group was great! Teachers developed some incredible units that will bring real-world experiences to our students. I look forward to seeing them in action. I want to extend a special thank you to Emmaus Lutheran School and my facilitators: Stacey, Kristen, Jessica, Mike and Christina. They were able to share terrific insights and examples that benefited the whole group.Integrating Tech Tools. Another stellar group of teachers. The word of the day for this group was most certainly patience. Patience with technology challenges and too many video clips and their own challenges with integrating tech. Many thanks to Wyneken for hosting us, and to Andy and Pam who made the experience engaging and meaningful!Reading and Writing Best Practices. Teachers loved the breakout sessions featuring nationally known experts in reading, writing, and math (bonus event). It was a great opportunity to network with fellow educators from the area.MS Science Symposium. We are looking forward to this session in August. The science department at Concordia High School is creating a day of learning and experimenting that will support our middle-school teachers in new and exciting ways.IMPACT 2014 was a resounding success, but as with any new approach, it wasn’t perfect. We ask teachers to take risks in the classroom and try new things, and of course, I must do the same. I will use the feedback and comments I received to make IMPACT 2015 even better.