More than 600 teachers took a break from their summer vacation to participate in a three-day conference to get ready for the upcoming school year.
The Summer Teacher Institute which runs through Thursdays offers content specific training and sessions to strengthen technology skills, learn new instructional strategies and work with vendors who partner EPISD.
“The goal is to provide an open opportunity for teachers to attend training and prepare for a stronger comeback in 2017-2018,” said Kathy Seufert, director of Staff Development. “The Institute gives teachers a chance to improve their skills without having their students lose instructional time. Our teachers love learning new things all year round.”
Kindergarten teacher Elizabeth Avila’s first stop was a session on kinder content strategies for English, Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) and social studies.
“I’m hoping to learn new ideas, new ways to organize what I am already doing and maybe tweaking it or changing it and I also want to learn more technology,” Avila said.
The 22-year classroom veteran said the summer is the perfect time for the conference.
“By end of year, you’re pretty stressed out so now that we’ve been given couple weeks, we’re more relaxed. We’re more open for new ideas and excited about the new year,” Avila said. “It’s also a time when you get to bounce ideas and network with other teachers from different grade levels and from other campuses.”
Teacher Jacqueline Long liked the variety of sessions offered and was thankful she could complete her GT update there.
“It’s a great opportunity to get wonderful ideas and be ready for the new year,” she said.
Down the street from Chapin Elementary at Chapin Elementary, 35 PE coaches gathered in the multipurpose room for their training.
“We’re trying to help teachers create lessons that are active learning beyond a traditional active PE class,” said John Adams, director of health, wellness and PE. “We want them to start using the same strategies the classroom teachers are using by thinking about how students learn and communicating what they learned in their classes.”
The coaches watched videos of lessons then collaborated on how to improve the lesson to ensure all students stay actively involved. The sessions kept the coaches themselves up and moving during the three days.
“We really want them to start think about teach what can they do better and more student centered,” Adams said.
Educators throughout the District representing all grade levels, content areas and years of experience took part in the Summer Institute this year.
“I am so grateful for the dedicated teachers we have in EPISD who spend a part of their summer getting better at what they do,” Seufert said. “They are role-models for life-long learning.”