Teach­ers hon­ored af­ter ob­tain­ing mi­cro-cre­den­tials

Those who took cour­ses to help im­prove stu­dent learn­ing awarded

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID [email protected]­news.com Twit­ter: @CalRecMICHAEL

A large group of Calvert County pub­lic school teach­ers were re­warded Dec. 19 for mak­ing their class­rooms, and them­selves, bet­ter when they were pre­sented with cer­tifi­cates for com­plet­ing mi­cro-cre­den­tial­ing cour­ses.

On­line cour­ses be­gan in Septem­ber in Univer­sal De­sign for Learn­ing and Self Reg­u­la­tion.

“Both of these ideas are ed­u­ca­tional ideas foun­da­tional to help our kids im­prove ac­cess to learn­ing or the cur­ricu­lum and strictly to en­gage,” said Steven Van Rees, who leads the UDL course in Calvert County. “They need the prin­ci­ples of Univer­sal De­sign for Learn­ing, and the prin­ci­ples of Self Reg­u­la­tion for all kids to to learn ef­fec­tively.”

A to­tal of 18 el­e­men­tary, mid­dle and high school teach­ers took the cour­ses, up from just six teach­ers last year. This is the third time the Self-Reg­u­la­tion course was of­fered and the first time the UDL course was avail­able.

Four teach­ers — Hunt­ing­town High School’s Amy Trainor and Dow­ell El­e­men­tary School’s Kelly Hawks, Rebecca Lieshier and Stephanie Schop­pert — earned cer­tifi­cates in both cour­ses.

“I’m very proud be­cause these teach­ers are not tak­ing these cour­ses for any other rea­son other to im­prove their prac­tice, which is so im­por­tant,” Van Rees said. “They’re do­ing this at night, on week­ends, and they’re ex­per­i­ment­ing with new tech­niques and strate­gies for the sole purpose to help their kids, es­pe­cially those that are tra­di­tion­ally dis­en­gaged or who strug­gle.”

“I’m al­ways look­ing for new strate­gies to in­cor­po­rate into the class­room to re­ally keep the learn­ing fresh for the kids,” said North­ern High School English teacher Erin Mathers, who took the Self-Reg­u­la­tion course. She took the UDL course last year. “I haven’t been a kid in a while so I think this might help me to un­der­stand where they are and what they need.”

Twelve teach­ers earned cer­tifi­cates in Self-Reg­u­la­tion and two teach­ers — Mu­tual El­e­men­tary School’s Kristin Hal­stead and Mill Creek Mid­dle School’s Amy Hysan — com­pleted the UDL course.

“I be­came in­ter­ested in [the UDL course] be­cause I’m al­ways look­ing for new strate­gies and new ideas to push my stu­dents and get them engaged,” said Hysan, who teaches sixth-grade English and lan­guage arts. “I also felt that it was a way to re­flect on my­self as a teacher, and not just the stu­dents be­cause it doesn’t just in­volve strate­gies for just the stu­dents, it’s about look­ing at the teacher and how can you rep­re­sent ideas and how can you get the stu­dent engaged. And the sec­ond piece was about how do they show you their ev­i­dence of learn­ing.”

“Steve came to a lead­er­ship com­mit­tee I was on and pre­sented it to us and it sounded re­ally in­ter­est­ing,” Calvert Mid­dle School spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher Lynne Beahm said of the Self-Reg­u­la­tion course. “I re­ally thought the [course] was more on help­ing kids reg­u­lat­ing their be­hav­iors, but I learned through the course it was so much more. I learned that both the stu­dents and the teach­ers can ben­e­fit from self-reg­u­la­tion tech­niques and charts and goal-set­ting and mak­ing smaller ob­jec­tives to meet those goals, and it just re­ally helped mo­ti­vate my stu­dents. It was neat to see them grow be­cause they wanted to.”

Mathers, who said she did most of the course Sun­day af­ter­noons, fo­cused on the re­flec­tion as­pect of it.

“There are a few dif­fer­ent ways to do that, you can do be­hav­ioral or aca­demic, so I fo­cused on the aca­demic re­flec­tions,” she said. “With some of the lessons I re­ally wanted to see where the kids thought they were with the learn­ing.”

And the teach­ers said they’ve al­ready im­ple­mented some of what they’ve learned in their class­rooms.

“So far I’ve found it very help­ful be­cause I feel like I’m not putting the kids on the spot,” Mathers said. “If I give them five min­utes to fill out the sheet, and af­ter I’ve re­as­sured them I’m not go­ing to hang the sheets on the walls so ev­ery­body knows what they don’t un­der­stand, they’ve be­come ac­cli­mated to think­ing about what we’ve been learn­ing and fig­ure out how to tell me what they un­der­stand and what they don’t un­der­stand.”

“A lot of the stu­dents are on board and they are set­ting goals and reach­ing goals,” Beahm said, “and they’re do­ing it just to reach the goals and not just for an out­side re­ward, but for them­selves.”

Hysan said she’s happy she took the course.

“It was just nice to have that re­as­sur­ance that you are do­ing the right thing in the class­room,” she said, “and a nice re­as­sur­ance to give me other strate­gies to keep think­ing and keep re­mind­ing me that it’s not al­ways just about us­ing tech­nol­ogy and the new­est and lat­est gad­get and that choice isn’t just about that.”

STAFF PHOTOS BY MICHAEL REID

Teach­ers who re­ceived cer­tifi­cates for com­plet­ing the on­line Self-Reg­u­la­tion and/or Univer­sal De­sign for Learn­ing cour­ses are Christy Heffner (Plum Point Mid­dle), front row left, Stephanie Schop­pert (Dow­ell El­e­men­tary), Kelly Hawks (Dow­ell El­e­men­tary), Rebecca Leis­hear (Dow­ell El­e­men­tary), Joanne Guy (Stu­dent Ser­vices), Maria Len­dacky Koe­bele (Sun­der­land El­e­men­tary), back row left, Amy Trainer (Hunt­ing­town High), Joann Bos­tic (Calvert Coun­try), Lisa Spencer (Plum Point Mid­dle), Erin Mathers (North­ern High), Jessica Sher (Hunt­ing­town El­e­men­tary, Amy Hysan (Mill Creek Mid­dle), Kim Cian­ci­olo (Hunt­ing­town El­e­men­tary, Kristin Hall­stead (Mu­tual El­e­men­tary), Vic­to­ria Best (Plum Point El­e­men­tary) and Lynne Beahm (Calvert Mid­dle). Not pic­tured are Dona Hook (Plum Point Mid­dle) and Ron­nie Mor­ris­sey (Patux­ent High).

North­ern High School’s Erin Mathers, right, re­ceives her cer­tifi­cate for com­plet­ing the Self-Reg­u­la­tion course from Calvert County As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent of In­struc­tion Diane Work­man.

Hunt­ing­town El­e­men­tary School’s Kim Cian­ci­olo, right, re­ceives her cer­tifi­cate for com­plet­ing the Self-Reg­u­la­tion course from Calvert County As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent of In­struc­tion Diane Work­man.

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