We Love Our Teachers! Community Giving Supporting Professional Development
There is a palpable feeling of excitement throughout the school, generated by your Community Giving! Did you know that in addition to what might be considered “fun stuff”--playground equipment, faculty swag and the like--Community Giving funds a significant amount of learning for teachers in the form of Professional Development? This year and in 2018-19, across all levels of learning, there has been a great deal of professional development being planned and executed for the benefit of teachers, which in turn has directly benefited your child’s classroom.
“I see it working in the classroom,” reports Kyra Gailis,Director of Learning and ECE Principal. “The teachers are using this invaluable training, which is given to them through the use of consultants, sending them to various trainings across the country and our own half-day Teacher Development Days.” There are three main goals with our trainings:
- Aligning the curriculum with PYP (Primary Years Program)
- Understanding inquiry-based learning
A half day once a month may not seem like a lot of time to devote to professional development but an amazing amount of learning has been accomplished. Rachel Ratnathicam, Head of English and Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning, is especially excited by the writers’ workshops, where teachers develop strategies to teach and assess writing and align this information among grade levels. “Consultants came and deepened our understanding of writing and developing units. They went deeper with the teachers as to what went where,” Rachel explained.
Spanish K2 Lead Teacher Ana Garcia went to a training in Minneapolis during the last school year. Her training was called Implementing Agency, an approximation of the IB philosophy, which ISDenver is considering for the primary grades. Ana says, “It was very enriching and interesting. We learned about the IB Framework, the learning profile and what it means to be an inquiry learner and teacher.” Ana goes on to explain the benefits: “It has helped me to fully understand what IB Philosophy really means, to introduce words like “perseverant” or “risk-taker” when spotting those behaviors in my children, to change the way I approach teaching in the classroom letting the students formulate questions.”
Le Yang, Chinese K3 teacher, also speaks enthusiastically about the training in Minneapolis, which opened her eyes to more of the introductory IB program for primary grades. “It helps us because we can give our students a whole picture of a concept or theme, with a special emphasis on the importance of inquiry,” she says. “I personally now use more activities--more sensory activities and a greater diversity of activities in my teaching.”
This past November, Tracy Chang and Risa Machovic attended the yearly Colorado Art Education Association conference in Breckenridge. “There are so many workshops offered, offering techniques, methods and standards for art education. We learn how to talk in terms the kids understand, so that they in turn can express their emotions through art. It really doesn’t matter what age --art can connect with them.”
Said both Rachel and Kyra: “We want to give a huge ‘Thank You!!’ to all of you who gave and are continuing to give to our Community Giving program. We couldn’t be doing all this without you!”
Learn more about the the Primary Years Program and our candidacy here.
And please watch for our story about Middle School and how your Community Giving dollars are working for our upper grade students!
ISDenver's RISE campaign was the largest community-led philanthropic capital campaign in the school’s history, funding the construction of the Mary Louise Evans building: a thriving hub for our entire community, and home to the Middle School.
At last year's Global Gala, our community rallied together to raise funds to add a new hero to our team: an Education Technology Specialist. We're thrilled to welcome Steven Lamb to our community, and had the chance to interview him firsthand!
ISDenver’s Pay It Forward Fund has been a perfect example of one big, united family taking care of all its members in a time of need. Because of the amazing generosity of those who could help, more than $100,000 was paid forward, and over 40 students who were at risk of not being able to stay at ISDenver have been able to continue their educations here.