As adults were heading to the polls, educators in Bedford engaged in a wide variety of professional development across the district on November 6th. The work was building-based, all connected in various ways to building and district priorities.
Educators at Bedford High School began orientation to the 3-year Challenge Success project. Challenge Success, an independent non-profit organization affiliated with Stanford Graduate School of Education, partners with schools and families to identify and implement strategies that “decrease student stress, improve social and emotional health, and promote academic engagement.” The program began with training over the summer of a core group of educators, students and parent representatives led by Principal Galante. The faculty learned about the program this week from Challenge Success representative Jon Kleinman, who also presented “The Well-Balanced Student” to parents on Tuesday evening.
The goal of the program is to broaden the definition of success beyond a narrow one that overemphasizes grades, test scores, and performance, allowing little time and energy for young people to develop essential skills to become independent, ethical, and critical thinkers. As Principal Galante stated, it will allow students to “live their best lives.” Following the presentation, educators completed collaborative and reflective exercises connected to the program. Students will take a comprehensive survey in the coming weeks which will lay the foundation for deeper study and development of recommendations for improvement.
Faculty at John Glenn Middle School spent the morning in team-based parent conferences designed to give families a more comprehensive view of their students’ academic and social growth during these middle years. In the afternoon, faculty engaged in several design challenges, including one in which they needed to guide a sphero remotely. The purpose of the work—even though it was set up more like a game or contest—was to give faculty members some ideas about how they might integrate design challenges into their curriculum. Such challenges engage participants in team work and creative problem solving skills.
Elementary educators at the Lane School continued to hone their experience and skills in the Lucy Calkins Readers Workshop, the core of their literacy program now in its first year of full implementation across all three grades. During the intensive small group sessions, teachers collaborated using their students’ pre-assessment data for the current non-fiction unit to develop strategy groups and individual learning goals. The work continued into the afternoon as they developed lesson structures, readings and other options for their student groups.
Davis School faculty members spent the morning, first with a community building exercise, followed by related workshops in social-emotional learning facilitated by counselors or behaviorists paired with classroom teachers. Teachers chose two of the five workshops to attend. Following lunch, teachers met in their grade level teams to discuss the science work they have thus far been able to integrate into their curriculum. This discussion was the culmination of three professional development sessions connected to the science standards, the goal this year being to unpack and prioritize the science standards, and to deepen the science aspects of the integrated curriculum. The work is grounded in the faculty’s shared study throughout this year of Developing Natural Curiosity through Project-Based Learning by Dana Laur and Jill Ackers.
It was an exciting and inspiring day for educators across the district. We appreciate the community's support of this in-service professional learning. MLS