New Summer Institute highlights staff collaboration in educating the whole child
Posted on 07/06/2016
A good teacher’s search for more and better ways to help students succeed doesn’t end when classrooms empty in early June. That’s why AASD is offering more than 90 staff development opportunities this summer. 

Sure to be popular is the district’s first “Every Child Every Day Summer Institute” in August. It underscores AASD’s emphasis on educating the whole child and will bring together a variety of expertise and practical, hands-on learning experiences so educators have more tools to meet student needs.

“As a building we have worked so hard this year to collaborate around how we are teaching and responding to the whole child,” said Jefferson literacy coach Tiffany Wesoloski.

Wesoloski added that the institute will allow her and colleagues to “learn more about how every one of the important initiatives AASD has in place are connected. Rather than attending separate institutes as individuals, or attempting to attend every single institute ourselves, we can focus our time and energy into learning how all of the offered strands work together to support the work we are doing within our buildings.” 

The “strands” range from career based learning and wellness to closing opportunity gaps for AASD’s increasingly diverse student body.

Karen Russell, district literacy coach for grades 3-6, and a planner for the institute, is also eager to attend. 

“What’s going on in our classrooms is impacted by what goes on outside our schools,” Russell said. It’s about knowing who our students are  — their academics, physical and mental health, behavioral issues — and where they’re coming from. That’s the ‘every child, every day’ piece. Looking at it from multiple perspectives gives us a better picture of each child. You have to know how to put it all together to help them succeed.” 

She said she looks forward to hearing from experts in and outside the district. “That will help us look through a different lens and build off their knowledge.” 

Russell, who will also attend summer institutes on literacy and social studies, expects to be energized for fall. “I think teachers will walk away excited to implement new practices in their classrooms. Having an opportunity to collaborate with their colleagues at the institute around these topics will be a good kickoff for the new school year.” 

AASD Literacy Coach Karen Russell sits down for an "Ask and Answer" activity with Chuchie Thao, left, Natalia Jacquez and Isaac Thao, all students in Dana Austin's second/third grade class at Johnston Elementary School.
AASD Literacy Coach Karen Russell sits down for an "Ask and Answer" activity with Chuchie Thao, left, Natalia Jacquez and Isaac Thao, all students in Dana Austin's second/third grade class at Johnston Elementary School.

Other staff development offerings include a Special Education Institute, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training, General Music Lesson Research and Compilation, Math Institute (Grades K-6), Middle and High School Summer Technology Institute, and a program on how trauma can harm a child’s developing brain and lead to chronic diseases, mental illness and violence later in life.
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