Schools send teachers ‘jet setting’ across the country to enhance instruction

New Orleans
GMSD teachers from all levels, kindergarten through eighth grade, recently attended Eureka’s Summer Math Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana. Teachers participated in a variety of sessions including Launch Eureka Math, Focus on Fluency, Major Work of the Grade Band, and Solving Word Problems. One of the most important sessions was Preparation & Customization of Eureka Lessons. Keys ideas included that Eureka math is not intended to function as a scripted curriculum but instead offers options for differentiated instruction to suit multiple learning styles and accommodate a variety of instructional models. In GMSD, we strive to fully immerse students in the application of mathematics knowing this is only possible when they are provided a solid foundation in the K-2 classroom. We learned that being committed to the program at each grade level is paramount in order to develop critical thinkers and problem solvers ready to tackle high school course work.  

Teachers from Houston Middle School were sent to attend the ASCD Conference on Teaching Excellence: Pathways to Equity.  Several teachers went to the ASCD Conference hosted out of Boston last Fall and found the content to be impactful with their students.  Devon Pohlman, an 8th grade science teacher, was among the teachers sent this summer to bring back content to the faculty this coming Fall.  “People don’t always think of Houston Middle School as having a lot of demographic differences—but there is a huge diverse culture that deserves attention to equity,” said Polhman.  She along with other teachers came up with several ideas for back-to-school in-service which all center around buy-in for enhancing student culture.  Armed with new ideas about expanding their mentorship opportunities and student ownership of the newly started house system, they couldn’t be more excited to begin another school year. 

Las Vegas
Third-fifth grade ELA teachers from DES, FES, and RES attended the EL Starting Strong conference in Las Vegas Nevada. Teachers gained a clearer understanding of how the texts and lessons strategically align with our standards. There were opportunities for us to plan as a district and time for us to learn from and share with other districts across the country. We left with a deeper appreciation of the modules and excitement to implement the changes recently made to EL modules. One of the things we love the most is how a cornerstone of EL curriculum is developing character and empathy as well as providing rigorous learning opportunities. GMSD is committed to growing confident readers, thinkers, writers, listeners, and speakers while also equipping our students with the skills, character, and empathy needed to be leaders in their schools, communities, and around the world.

Four teachers from HMS, two from RES, along with the district’s Curriculum Technology Director went to the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE), the premiere conference for incorporating technology into teaching.  The conference offered thousands of sessions that range in all teaching pedagogies and subject areas, including STEM and coding in the classroom.   “I am excited to reinvigorate what is happening at the elementary school level,” said Mason Grace, Director of Curriculum Technology and Communication.  “We’ve brought back some nationally supported standards and tactics to better focus our teaching staff in the areas of digital literacy, foundational computer skills, and cyber safety,” said Grace.  The teachers sent to this whirlwind conference were also brimming with new ideas about ways to incorporate technology into their specific curriculums.  

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