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Summer professional development

One of the biggest misconceptions that I often hear is that teachers have it made–they get their summers off. From what I have witnessed, that is not true here in the Copper Country. We have many dedicated teachers in all of our local schools who want to continually improve and learn new ideas to enhance the education of their students.

Just one week after students have left for their summer vacation the Copper Country ISD was hosting professional development classes for local teachers called Math Recovery. This was a four day workshop that provided valuable insights about why so many children have difficulty with math, especially focusing on multiplication, division, place value and assessment. After completing this course, teachers will be able to administer assessments to determine a student’s profile to guide day-to-day instruction. What was so impressive to me is that the workshop is completely filled.

Also during June the Copper Country ISD provided professional development for science teachers on Invasive Species. Teachers were exposed to many hands-on activities that they will be able to bring back to their classrooms during the next school year.

The state has put a big focus on Reading by the third grade. The CCISD is providing training on the K-3 Literacy Essentials. In this training, teachers will be able to get guidance from Dr. Nell Duke and Dr. Susan L’Allier, both leading scholars in the state on early childhood literacy.

The CCISD also looks to connect teachers to real world events. One perfect example is a set of workshops called Meaningful Watershed Investigations. In these workshops teachers will engage in hands-on activities and outdoor investigations that will center on the June 2018 flood event in the Copper Country. Teachers will experience how Community Action and the Problem Solving Process can be used with students for watershed investigations and stewardship projects. Resources such as the Earth Force Framework and NOAA assets will be highlighted to help teachers connect with their students.

The Copper Country ISD also has many professional development opportunities for local teachers that will take place in August. These events start with a second round of Math Recovery sessions, along with Literacy Essentials for fourth and fifth grade teachers. Additionally, all of our local schools use an assessment to help track a student’s progress in reading. As new teachers come into the area, they need training on this assessment. Thus, the CCISD will run a two-day workshop to learn about the assessment and how to administer it.

Many of our local schools have implemented a program called Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MIBLSI). To support this work, whole teams from local schools will get together with CCISD support personnel to do Data Reviews of their schools to help create plans of improvement for the next school year.

Finally, every year, local schools hire new teachers right out of college. The Copper Country ISD has developed a series of Professional Development workshops called New Teacher Mentor Training. The first two workshops start prior to the first day of school.

Teachers are not the only school personnel learning during the summer, however. In July, there is a two day professional development for all U.P. administrators. This takes place in Delta County and is very well attended by superintendents and principals from across the Upper Peninsula.

Year after year, many of our local schools receive accolades from the state for their academic achievements. There is much that goes into receiving such recognition, from hard working students, to great parent support, and to the strong commitment from our local teachers, many of whom spend their summers enhancing their own knowledge so they can bring new ideas back to their schools and students.

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