Several training sessions have helped teachers and administrators prepare for the coming school year. Above, educators gathered at the district’s Professional Development Resource Center for a session on helping students shape their own success.  Below left, School No. 2 Principal Atiya Perkins, School No. 2 Vice Principal Rachelle Crawley and teacher coach Patricia Kowalski going over assessment data at the “Hot Diggity Data” session hosted by, below right, Assistant Superintendent Denise Cleary, Supervisor of Data and Assessment Dariusz Kondratowicz, and Instructional Coach Reina Irizarry-Clark.

two photos of educators at data and dogs session

By Gary Miller

Many of Linden’s teachers have been taking time out of their summer break to attend workshops to help prepare for the upcoming school year, including a peer-to-peer workshop for teaching science, sessions on data and classroom strategies – and a hot dog lunch.

“It’s a tribute to the dedication of our teachers that they get together on their own time to make sure our students are getting the best education possible,” said Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi. “These workshops strengthen the concept of teamwork and camaraderie among our staff and pay great dividends in the classroom.”

Members of the district’s Instructional Leadership Teams gathered Aug. 21 or 22 for a day of dissecting data, followed up by a hot dog barbecue for what was dubbed “Hot Diggity Data.” They spent the morning at the district’s Professional Development Resource Center poring over numbers from student assessments in order to craft their goals and action plans for the coming school year.

At lunchtime, Assistant Superintendent Denise Cleary, Supervisor of Data and Assessment Dariusz Kondratowicz and Instructional Coach Reina Irizarry-Clark treated them to a lunch of hot dogs with all the fixin’s, with an assist from Director of Technology Michael Walters on the grill.

The ILTs are made up of eight to 10 teachers from each of the schools who study data and innovative classroom methods, then pass on what they’ve learned to colleagues at their schools. The ILTs from the middle schools and Linden High School gathered on Aug. 22, and the elementary school teams gathered on Aug. 21.

teachers and administrators at training session

Professional learning consultant Karen Flories leading a workshop on "visible learners."

The week before, nearly 50 teachers and administrators from around the district came together Aug. 15 at the PDRC for an informative training session focused on helping students to become “visible learners.” That term refers to students who can set goals, know what they need to do to attain those goals, and can track their own progress.

The session was led by professional learning consultant Karen Flories of Corwin publishing. Each of the educators who attended were given the book “Developing Assessment-Capable Visible Learners” to help them develop classroom strategies that empower students to shape their own educational success.

four teachers at a table

Fourth-grade teachers taking part in a peer workshop for teaching science. From left are Daria Wells of School No. 8, Tatiana Palomo of Rahway, Panagiota Vitoroulis of School No. 6, and Kara-Lynne Frees-Spoganetz of School No. 5.

From Aug. 13 to 16, 50 Linden teachers gathered in Elizabeth with about 100 colleagues from Rahway, Hillside, Elizabeth, Newark and Kenilworth to participate in peer workshops for teaching science. They learned through peer-to-peer exercises how to plan, implement, and assess curricula in three-dimensional science learning.

The workshops for kindergarten through Grade 5 focused on the new Full Option Science System (FOSS) Earth and Space Science modules. The teachers were able to check out the teacher’s manual, student kit contents, and technology resources, and together develop ideas about implementing the lessons in their classrooms.

The workshops for Grades 6-12 focused on developing students’ skills in engineering. Teachers worked together on showing students how to use core ideas to define problems and design solutions, and developing assessment strategies.