Dis­tricts work to en­hance class­rooms

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bri­ana Con­tr­eras bcon­tr­eras@morn­ingjour­nal.com @MJ_B­con­tr­eras on Twit­ter

More than 450 Ober­lin and North Ridgeville school dis­trict staff mem­bers en­gaged in a Com­mon Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment Day on Oct. 11 at the North Ridgeville Aca­demic Cen­ter, 34620 Bain­bridge Road.

Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment Day is meant to pro­vide staff with op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove in spe­cific prac­tices that will en­hance the learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment in class­rooms and school, ac­cord­ing to Moira Er­wine, direc­tor of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and cur­ricu­lum and In­struc­tion at the Ed­u­ca­tional Ser­vice Cen­ter of Lorain County.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vice Cen­ter collaborated with State Sup­port Team Re­gion 2, Lorain County Board of Men­tal Health and Lorain County Pub­lic Health to pro­vide a day of learn­ing along with a Ven­dor Fair, which will fur­ther of­fer con­nec­tions to agen­cies to sup­port stu­dents and fam­i­lies.

Staff mem­bers be­gan a day full of ex­er­cises with a pre­sen­ta­tion led by Dr. Stephen Sroka, in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized mo­ti­va­tional speaker, award win­ning ed­u­ca­tor, au­thor and con­sul­tant.

Staff ap­plauded and laughed with Sroka as he shared how his life sto­ries have made him the ed­u­ca­tor and in­di­vid­ual he is to­day.

He dis­cussed his more than 40-year ex­pe­ri­ence in ed­u­ca­tion in Cleve­land and how it showed him the im­por­tance of form­ing re­la­tion­ships with stu­dents and their fam­i­lies go a long way.

Sroka shared it’s great that school dis­tricts and their staff can come to­gether to de­velop more tools, that not only fo­cus on a stu­dent’s ed­u­ca­tion, but more im­por­tantly, their hap­pi­ness, health and safety.

“I think many of us have re­al­ized a safe and healthy kid learns more and lives bet­ter,” he said. “We have to think about what schools are re­ally about. It’s not just teach­ing the aca­demics, but the men­tal, phys­i­cal, so­cial and emo­tional.

“It’s re­ally good to come to (an event) like this and have ev­ery­one come out. I nor­mally do train­ing for ad­min­is­tra­tors, but you need ev­ery­one here to learn and work to­gether.”

Staff then spent the re­main­der of the day in three se­lected ex­er­cises out of more than 20, which were bro­ken into three ses­sions through­out the day.

Some of the ex­er­cise top­ics in­clude: HOPE Cur­ricu­lum - over­view of the opi­oid cri­sis; Trauma In­formed Strate­gies in the Class­room; Yoga 4 Class­rooms; How to Man­age Chronic Con­di­tions in Stu­dents; Cul­tur­ally Re­spon­sive Teach­ing; Cy­ber Bul­ly­ing and So­cial Me­dia; and Pre­par­ing for Post School Suc­cess.

Staffers also en­gaged and par­tic­i­pated in ac­tiv­i­ties to bet­ter un­der­stand how to in­cor­po­rate the ex­er­cises into their class­rooms in or­der to fol­low the theme of the day: Move Be­yond the Whole Child.

The ap­proach is an ef­fort to tran­si­tion from a fo­cus on nar­rowly de­fined aca­demic achieve­ment to one that pro­motes the long-term de­vel­op­ment and suc­cess of all chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­a­tion for Su­per­vi­sion and Cur­ricu­lum De­vel­op­ment.

The Su­per­vi­sion and Cur­ricu­lum De­vel­op­ment as­so­ci­a­tion is known as ASCD, a non­profit, non­par­ti­san or­ga­ni­za­tion that rep­re­sents more than 114,000 ed­u­ca­tors from more than 127 coun­tries, in­clud­ing 57 af­fil­i­ate or­ga­ni­za­tions, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Ed­u­ca­tional Ser­vice Cen­ter of col­lab­o­rates with the Su­per­vi­sion and Cur­ricu­lum De­vel­op­ment as­so­ci­a­tion, which helps ed­u­ca­tors, fam­i­lies and pol­i­cy­mak­ers move from a vi­sion about ed­u­cat­ing the whole child to sus­tain­able, col­lab­o­ra­tive ac­tion.

Strate­gic plan

The Ed­u­ca­tional Ser­vice Cen­ter based its ex­er­cises off of re­quire­ments of the Ohio Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Strate­gic Plan for Ed­u­ca­tion from 2019-2024.

The re­quire­ments in­clude: reach­ing one goal of in­creas­ing the an­nu­ally per­cent­age of high school grad­u­ates who one year af­ter, are en­rolled and suc­ceed­ing in a post-high school ex­pe­ri­ence; serv­ing in the mil­i­tary; earn­ing a liv­ing wage; or en­gag­ing in a mean­ing­ful or self­sus­tain­ing vo­ca­tion.

The state’s ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment also re­quires schools to reach core val­ues, ac­quire at least 10 pri­or­ity strate­gies for stu­dents and have at least four learn­ing do­mains.

Er­wine said pro­vid­ing Ober­lin and North Ridgeville school dis­tricts with an op­por­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate and learn to­gether, specif­i­cally around so­cial emo­tional learn­ing, is what the county ser­vice cen­ter wanted to fo­cus on in the state’s strate­gic plan.

“Ohio Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion has a statewide strate­gic plan that shows that (so­cial emo­tional learn­ing) is as im­por­tant as aca­demic learn­ing,” she said.

Car­rie Helling, a preschool teacher at North Ridgeville’s Early Child­hood Learn­ing Com­mu­nity, said she en­joyed the in­for­ma­tion Sroka pro­vided and was ex­cited to par­tic­i­pate in the ex­er­cises on mind­ful­ness and brain-based learn­ing strate­gies. “I like to learn and keep up on the lat­est things go­ing on (in ed­u­ca­tion),” Helling said. “In our job, mind­ful­ness is one of the big­gest things we fo­cus on.”

She said it’s nice to see peo­ple in other dis­tricts and par­tic­i­pate with them in a day of en­gage­ment.

Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vice Cen­ter has of­fered Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment Day to eight dis­tricts in the past, and will con­tinue with some of them Nov. 5, Er­wine said.

Those dis­tricts are Clearview, Columbia, Key­stone, Fire­lands and Welling­ton.

To see more on Ohio Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s strate­gic plan, visit www. ed­u­ca­tion.ohio.gov/About/ Ohios-Strate­gic-Plan-forE­d­u­ca­tion

“I think many of us have re­al­ized a safe and healthy kid learns more and lives bet­ter. We have to think about what schools are re­ally about. It’s not just teach­ing the aca­demics, but the men­tal, phys­i­cal, so­cial and emo­tional.” — Dr. Stephen Sroka, in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized mo­ti­va­tional speaker, award win­ning ed­u­ca­tor, au­thor and con­sul­tant


Staff of North Ridgeville and Ober­lin School dis­tricts par­tic­i­pate in a Yoga 4 Stu­dents ses­sion Oct. 11, which is one of over 20 ex­er­cises part of a Com­mon Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment Day at the North Ridgeville Aca­demic Cen­ter.

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