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District Educators Launch Inaugural MTPS EdCamp

On Monday, Nov. 11, while schools were closed for students, educators and administrators gathered at High School South for the District’s inaugural MTPS EdCamp, a professional learning model that promotes academic choice and voice in what training sessions our staff members choose to attend.

The EdCamp model is based upon ad hoc community participation, in which attendees choose topics they would like to discuss and lead others in the conversation, prompting contributions and anecdotes from attendees.

Hundreds of subjects were broached on Monday, ranging from the District’s ongoing Strategic Planning process, to the use of technology in the classroom, as well as strides being made in social-emotional learning for students, and progressive educational initiatives like Responsive Classroom activities and methods to intertwine Global Citizenship Education into lesson plans.

 

“As Dr. George always says, ‘The room is always smarter,’ and when we can use the expertise within our district and of our teacher-leaders, who are able to facilitate and share ideas that are so pressing and so relevant to what happens in their classrooms, the product is sure to be outstanding,” said Jessica Shaw-Alfone, Director of Staff Development and Special Projects.

Alfone said that time is a factor for District educators, who often are unable to fit peer-to-peer collaboration into their hectic day-to-day schedules.

The foundation of the EdCamp model is one of peer collaboration, allowing teachers to share what educational methods are working inside their classrooms in hopes of enhancing the approach of others across the District.

“This model of professional development is an extremely authentic and effective way for educators to co-lead with each other. It’s teachers and administrators working together on topics that we have a shared interest in delving into further. And if a topic doesn’t meet your needs, you can leave and head to another session that does. This model is about pursuing your passions as an educator, and it desires additional practice,” said Daniel Alston, High School North Education Technology Specialist.

In August, Shaw and Alston, among other District educators, helped lead the 2019 EdCamp Jersey Shore at Monmouth University, an event attended by hundreds of teachers and administrators from across New Jersey, and others from beyond our borders.

Superintendent of Schools, William O. George, III, Ed. D., said the EdCamp model is one the District will explore further during future professional learning opportunities.

“In great organizations, they understand the tremendous talent around them. And I for one understand the incredible talent in this District. It’s one of the reasons why I love the EdCamp model so much, because our educators have so much to give and share. And we all have so much to learn from one another,” said George.