Summers Are for Fun, Relaxation and a Whole Lot of Learning
Many professionals associate summer with some time off for fun, relaxation and vacationing. Many educators also use the summer to continue their commitment to ongoing professional learning. This can take many forms, including but not limited to professional conferences and events, continuing higher education, book studies, instructional planning or even individual reading.
Following are snapshots of professional learning conferences, events and experiences that iLEAD and Maker Learning Network educators are engaged in this summer:
Professional Conferences, Events
Sara McDaniels, iLEAD Arts Coordinator, and Nicole Huguenin, Maker Learning Network’s Director of Arts Integration and Play, are attending the Virtual Arts Integration Symposium from The Music Center. This year’s theme is Well-Being Through the Arts and will feature a variety of virtual professional development sessions for TK-12 educators. This three-day online symposium, led by experts in dance, music, theatre and music as well as visual and media arts, will guide educators in developing skills and strategies to address student needs related to social-emotional learning, trauma-informed approaches, social justice and much more. McDaniels said, “I attended last year, and it was one of the best professional learning experiences I have had. I am very much looking forward to the three days. I even rearranged my vacation plans this summer so I would be available to attend.”
SCVi facilitator Ingrid Moon just finished a weeklong, all-day virtual professional learning experience focused on AP computer science principles. “It was sponsored by USC and Code.org,” Moon said. “It was really fun.”
iLEAD Lancaster facilitator Rasheda Young is attending Quizlet’s Unconference 2021 in late July. Young is encouraging her colleagues and others to attend as well.
iLEAD Exploration Codirector Heather Ferenc was recently voted onto the advisory board for the Association of Personalized Learning Schools & Services (APLUS+). iLEAD Online, Empower Generations and iLEAD Exploration are members of this organization, which advocates locally, statewide and nationally for school choice. In this role, Ferenc will learn about the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis Approach.
Colorado SKIES Academy Exploratorium facilitator Holly Pierce is attending the Infosys Foundation USA Pathfinders Summer Institute. Her participation is sponsored by funding raised through her DonorsChoose efforts, and she is taking a Creative Electronics Course with Chibitronics Paper Circuits. Pierce is also attending the Reignite 2021 Summer Conference from SmartLab.
iLEAD Exploration Education Specialist Ginger Gray attended the Saddleback Webinar: Leading Students from Independence to Self-Direction. Gray said it was a great refresher as we return to post-COVID school and that she is planning to present the information to her iLEAD colleagues this year.
iLEAD Online social science facilitator Laureen Agee is taking a compassionate inquiry course from Dr. Gabor Mate. Although not technically an education course, Agee said the class covers how to access a learner’s motivations, as well as what might be keeping someone from being successful in their work. “This is about what gets in the way of success,” Agee said. “As both a coach and a facilitator, I think this will help me work with my learners who have invisible challenges.”
iLEAD English-Language Learner Director Michele Bowes is participating in training through Ellevation, as well as completing her initial online training for the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California.
WorldOver facilitator Jessica Weiss is doing three weeks of AP training this summer for the courses AP Seminar, AP Literature and Composition, and AP Language and Composition. New to AP, Weiss said she is one-third of the way through her formal AP training. “This will all be very valuable as I facilitate new courses this year,” Weiss said.
iLEAD Agua Dulce facilitator Rhonna Horney is participating in workshops from Kim Sutton’s Creative Mathematics.
SCVi Upper School facilitator Kevin Becker is involved in over 30 hours of professional learning through the Broadway Teachers Workshop from the Broadway Teachers Group. This is a weeklong conference for theatre educators to get together and learn from a variety of sources, including professional theatre instructors from New York, Broadway choreographers and music directors as well as actors and composers. This year they will be working with Christian Borle (Falsettos, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime, Man of La Mancha), and Alan Menken (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast), to name just a few. “I went last year, and it is an amazing and uplifting experience that I hope I get to attend in person one day,” Becker said.
SCVi academic and college counselor Kris Nilsen is virtually attending the American School Counselor Association Conference. “I attended virtually last year as well, and it was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended on academic counseling,” Nilsen said. “I am looking forward to the sessions and learning more this year. I hope to attend in person next year!”
iLEAD AV facilitator Alicia McReynolds is studying for her California Teaching Performance Assessments, as well as her Reading Instruction Competence Assessment.
In part two of this feature, we will get a glimpse of the continuing higher education, book studies, professional reading and other professional endeavors that iLEAD and Maker Learning Network educators are engaged in this summer.