It’s a tired cliché: that teachers are so lucky because they have the summers “off.” The notion conjures images of educators lazing away the days and weeks in chaise lounges and hammocks while the rest of us slog through the summer in our cubicles and storefronts.
In Pittsfield, nothing could be further from the truth. Although our educators, like everyone else, take some much needed and much deserved vacation, they spend most of their summers fully engaged in a demanding menu of teaching and learning activities.
We asked several teachers to share with us how they’ve been keeping busy since the end of June.
Derek Hamilton, PMHS 9/10 social studies teacher and Site Council member attended a 3-day workshop facilitated by nationally known teacher educator Arnie Clayton. Titled “Community of Learners;” the workshop reviewed educational protocols and how to utilize these participatory tools in the classroom and with their colleagues. Derek also went with a team of PMHS teachers and administrators to the New Hampshire Summer Statewide Educator Conference, where he learned about Common Core, Web 2.0, and Learning Studios, a concept he is launching at PMHS that you’ll soon hear more about.
At PMHS’s Advisory Planning Workshops, Derek represented the 9/10 Team. The focus of the workshop was the revision of Advisory rubrics (performance criteria) and the development of common assessments—all part of what the traditional workplace would call quality control. The 9/10 Team also spent two days planning an interdisciplinary project for ninth graders. They worked on new rubrics and planned a sequence of instruction and assessment for argumentative writing in ninth and tenth grade. So if you have a child in one of these grades, be prepared for a good argument this year!
Recently, Derek helped lead the Jump START Program for incoming ninth graders, a week-long program that helps students get ready for the big transition to high school. He also helped lead the Student Leadership Summit at which 40 students from various student organizations came together for a three-day workshop on leadership skills. The Summit included a day off-site in a challenging ropes course.
Finally, in addition to working with 22 students who worked on plans during the summer as part of competency recovery, Derek ran six-week summer programs for the PMHS soccer and Belmont basketball teams. It’s hard to imagine Derek having time for anything else this summer!
Christie Dunlavey, PMHS 9/10 science teacher, participated in several of the activities mentioned above, including competency recovery, interdisciplinary lesson planning and the Student Leadership Summit. She also took the time to rewrite her course competencies, indicators, and rubrics, and to develop the “essential questions” that will guide her lessons in the coming school year. She, like many of her colleagues this summer, uploaded all of this information to Atlas, so that parents and other stakeholders can see what students are expected to know and be able to do. (more…)