Teachers taking the summer off? Try summer on! On June 13 and 14, more than 100 Diocesan elementary teachers participated in a two-day symposium on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The goal of the NGSS is to move away from manufacturing students good at “book learning” and to prepare students to interconnect with science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world.
Michelle Nealon, Vice Principal of Saint Simon Parish School, coordinated the event which was facilitated by a cohort of experienced teachers from various Diocesan elementary schools.
In the months prior to the event, these lead teachers took on the role of developing the activities for the numerous sessions that occurred. Instead of the usual lecture-based professional development, this event focused on applied methods that allow teachers to learn about the standards in the same approach that their students will and apply the concepts of 21st Century learning.
The symposium event featured a S.T.E.A.M. (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) engine, which served as a jumping off point for the break-out sessions and activities. “The Diocese of San Jose retains its chair as a leader in educational innovation by investing in those closest to our kids – our teachers,” said Matt Komar, principal of Saint Nicholas School, who hosted the event.
The NGSS symposium is the start of a multi-year implementation plan that will allow teachers across the Diocese to gain exposure to the new standards, but also collaborate and share best practices across schools.