Earlier this week, staff from Buckeye Valley Local Schools and Delaware City Schools came together for two days of professional development.
Delaware Assistant Superintendent Craig Heath said the joint professional development event came together after Kim Halley, the assistant superintendent at Buckeye Valley, contacted him in February and posed the idea of combining the two districts’ professional development offerings “because we had common initiatives around innovation and social-emotional learning.”
“We brought our respective academic leadership teams together and started to brainstorm what the Summer Academy event might look like,” Heath said. “We finalized four pillars for our presentations – Blended Learning, Social-Emotional Learning, Social Justice, and Innovative Teaching Practices.”
Heath said the districts were able to get external presenters from The Ohio State University, Connecting Ed, Syntero, The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Kaleidoscope Youth Center, and the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, along with numerous educators from Delaware City Schools and Buckeye Valley Local Schools.
“We know that it is always good to learn from the experts we have in our own classrooms, so we were very excited to have so many of our teachers step up to share their knowledge and experiences with their colleagues,” Heath said.
Heath added one of the most notable presentations at the event was a lesson taught by an OSU professor entirely in Spanish, which Health said helped teachers relate to English Learner students.
“(He) used teaching strategies to allow the participants to understand the content of what he was teaching them,” Heath said. “This put teachers in a position to know what one of our English Learners experiences sitting in our classrooms without having a complete understanding of the language. He followed up that activity by sharing the strategies he used to help the group understand the content.”
Heath said the event was a positive learning experience for teachers.
“Our teachers learned so many new strategies and techniques during the course of the pandemic,” he said. “The Summer Academy allowed our teachers to highlight what they have learned and to share those ideas with others. If each teacher is able to take one idea and implement it to upgrade one of their lessons, we will see this Summer Academy as a success. With 220 educators attending the event and implementing a new strategy, technique, or lesson, we will be able to improve the educational experience for virtually every student in both of our districts.”
Heath said he hopes the districts team up again in the future to learn from each other.
“The responses to our exit survey from the participants have been extremely positive,” Heath said. “They loved learning from each other. They loved interacting with educators from another district, and they loved sharing stories from their experiences with their colleagues. I can definitely see this being an annual event moving forward.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.