By: Martha Bixler, VHELP 5th Grade Teacher, VHCSF Board Member
For teachers, there are so many reasons to love summer. There are the beach trips, the family vacations, finally catching up on all those episodes that have piled up on the DVR. In Vestavia, there is another reason teachers love summer... We love to learn!
For many years, the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation has funded grants that provide Vestavia teachers with meaningful, practical, student-focused professional development. These workshops are popular and sessions fill up quickly. Teachers have the opportunity to learn from experts outside of our school system, but also from other classroom teachers, special education and special area teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators. Sessions are offered for all grade levels and all disciplines. There is something for everyone, and yet the common thread in every session: students. What do they need? What can we do better? What is the very best we can do to prepare these young people for the world ahead? Teachers in Vestavia never stop learning! We want to provide the absolute best education possible.
What exactly are teachers learning? Here are just a few titles offered this summer:
• A Framework for K-12 Science Education
• Utilizing Google Apps for Education
• Mathematical Fluency
• Number Talks
• Untangling Text Complexity and Close Reading
• Using Visual Literacy to Engage Students in All Subjects
• Differentiation Strategies for High Ability Math Students
• STEM Labs and Makerspaces
• Unpacking Alabama’s New Science Standards
• Diving into Student-Led Discussions
I’ve been to a handful of PD sessions already. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with high school teachers, kindergarten teachers, P.E. coaches, principals, etc. With each experience I have come away with new ideas and a renewed passion for teaching and learning. I’m so grateful for the Foundation’s support of teachers.
Now that summer is coming to a close, you may still find us at the pool, or on vacation, or even in our classrooms trying to prepare for our next crop of eager young minds. You will also find us in a different classroom collaborating with our colleagues, honing our craft, growing and learning about best practices, technology, and how to meet students’ needs.
The Foundation invests in our students and in our schools, but it also invests in our teachers. Thanks to hard working leaders and the generous support of the Foundation, learning never stops in Vestavia!