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Your Tewksbury Today

Summer Professional Development Lessons Learned for Teachers

Oct 24, 2015 11:03PM ● By Bill Gilman

Kim Gagnon

(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the Tewksbury School Department.)

The summer of 2015 had two North Street School staff participate in professional development activities to enhance their teaching expertise. Kim Gagnon, grade 4 teacher, and Nancy Kalajian, Title I aide, had very different experiences but both will bring them back to the classroom. 

Summer had 225 Tewksbury Public Schools’ staff participate in one or more in-district professional development and 74 staff participated in more than one PD course. In total, teachers and staff experienced 2,114 contact hours in district. 

“Summer profession development for our staff is critical for student achievement to improve. I am very proud of our program and the staff that participated in it. The totals of 2,114 contact hours that our staff participated in does not include hours our staff experienced outside of our district program”, Brenda Theriault-Regan TPS Assistant Superintendent of Schools professional development coordinator. 

In addition, 25 contact hours were experienced by TPS administrators focusing on building a culture of collaboration and achievement led by Dr. Paul Ash of Ribas Associates as well as confidentiality training. 

Kim Gagnon has been a self-expressed space fanatic since she was very young. “The kids are the next set of explorers in space,” said Kim Gagnon. Kim’s one week at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama was a once in a lifetime event. The Center has conducted educational space camps for the last 10 years. 

Kim Gagnon said, “My experience at the Space Camp has direct connection to my classroom. Aspects of the mission relate to the classroom and our Open Circle program as well as skills like cooperation and teamwork”. 

Barbara Morgan, a former 2nd grade teacher from Idaho did experience space travel as a member of the Teacher in Space program. Barbara Morgan, in the October issue of ASBJ, said, “There’s constantly new things to learn and explore. It’s that open-ended future for our students that help them see…that the world is totally open to them. That’s what space exploration represents.”

Nancy Kalajian, Title I aide, lived at Mt. Vernon for one week experiencing the site of George Washington’s home. “We did what George Washington might have done, it gives you a shaking feeling, Said Nancy Kalajian. 

“I was not aware what a guy he was before I went. He was a wonderful leader,” said Nancy. 

Nancy plans to share with her grade 3rd and 4th grade students her experiences and the knowledge she learned. “Love for learning for educators to feel like a student again. We need to encourage our own love for learning to share that with students,” Nancy Kalajian said. 

The two North Street staff has very different professional development experiences but although different, both will bring back their knowledge to their students. Both George Washington and space exploration are very different but for the North Street students, they will experience both through their teachers’ eyes. 

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