March 17 "Leading and Learning" professional development day showcases
expertise of faculty and staff
Unique professional development day includes 30-plus workshops created
by Niskayuna educators to present to district colleagues
On Friday, March 17, Niskayuna teachers and staff participated in
workshops and training sessions rivaling what they would find at a
national conference – but the only place they needed to travel was the high
school Balltown Road and the presenters were district colleagues.
Set aside as a Superintendent's Conference Day on the calendar, it was
called "Leading and Learning Day" to reflect the fact that Niskayuna
educators are leaders within their profession and that they are always
learning and growing.
There were sessions on using video in the classroom, teaching the weather
and atmosphere to elementary students, reading strategies, Google Apps,
mindfulness, "makerspaces" and much, much more. There were even t-shirts
featuring the logo for the day created by high school graphic design student
Elizabeth Whelan as part of a class design challenge.
As the Professional Learning Committee planned the day, its goals were to
bring colleagues together from across the district, highlight the talent and
expertise that exists among the Niskayuna staff, and adress relevant topics
and concepts. The committee
is led by Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lauren Gemmill, and
includes teachers, administrators and staff members from all areas of the
The result of their planning was more than 35 morning sessions on
March 17 that allowed teachers and staff members to step outside their normal
routine and build some specific skills and learn some new strategies to
engage and support students.
Additionally, by participating in workshops led by colleagues, faculty and
staff members have ongoing access to a resource right in the district as
they try the new strategies with students.
"The depth and variety of the offerings was exceptional," Superintendent
Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. said. "This showcases the incredible talent, expertise
and leadership of our faculty and staff. Even better, what was learned and
shared by colleagues will further enhance teaching, learning and student
support in our schools. I commend the committee for all of the thought,
planning, and energy that went into making this day such a success."