Spring ISD EdCamp teacher leaders meet online with event facilitators.
HOUSTON – July 15, 2020 – Teachers participating in Spring ISD’s online EdCamp professional development sessions scheduled July 20-23 will have a unique opportunity to take part in professional development created and facilitated by their fellow district teachers. The sessions, focused on skills and topics requested by teachers during a recent survey, will be led by a group of Spring ISD classroom educators who have devoted themselves to answering the call of their colleagues.
“The more we collaborate, the more we come up with things that are going to help us prepare as educators, and it’s also going to benefit our students,” said Bammel Elementary School fifth-grade science teacher and fifth-grade team lead Jennifer Richard, one of the committee members working to develop the sessions.
The Spring ISD EdCamp sessions offered next week cover a wide range of topics, from technology tools such as Schoology and Google Classroom, to instructional strategies for better in-person and online teaching, lesson planning best practices, culturally responsive teaching methods, restorative practices to build stronger relationships, and more. Modeled on the worldwide EdCamp Community movement that brings participant-driven professional learning to educators, the specially created EdCamp sessions join targeted sessions on Blended Learning Design offered by district partner engage2learn.
Richard said the event’s organizers had been impressed at the response from teachers offering to help facilitate the EdCamp sessions.
“It’s pretty awesome that there are educators within the district that are experts in these areas and they’re willing to share their knowledge with their colleagues,” she said.
Teachers are especially interested in expanding their knowledge and learning new skills in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its massive impact on education in recent months, according to Reynolds Elementary School science teacher Joshua Gillman, who is also a member of the EdCamp planning committee.
“I guess a lot of that stems from the uncertainties coming into this upcoming school year,” Gillman said. “I think people want to be more prepared this time for the possibility of online learning.”
Spring ISD Executive Director of Workforce Development Diana Kimberly said that, given the current situation and the unique needs of teachers, she was especially excited to see the district facilitating a collaborative approach to development, one that would connect educators with their peers to discuss the topics most important to them.
“We’ve had professional development sessions that have been led by teachers in the past,” Kimberly said, “but a lot of times the content is provided to them by Workforce Development or by Curriculum and Instruction. The coolest thing about this is that it’s completely created by the teachers. It’s all teacher-led and teacher-directed.”
Richard and Gillman agreed, saying that members of the planning committee can’t wait to share the sessions with teachers next week, and some are already talking about more Spring ISD EdCamp events in the future.
“It’s professional development that’s created by teachers and it’s for teachers,” Richard said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
After reviewing the schedule of EdCamp and Blended Learning Design sessions, teachers planning to participate should register at Eventbrite Spring ISD EdCamp, as well as in Eduphoria to ensure they receive credit.