Collaboration Inspires Innovation

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Superintendent’s Conference Day Brings Faculty Together to Spark New Ideas for Student Engagement and Learning

While many students were given the day off from school on Election Day, teachers in the Syosset School District hit the books (and computers) for Superintendent’s Conference Day.

Planned by Dolly Kranz, the district’s coordinator for testing, planning and administration, in conjunction with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Rogers, the day consisted of a series of informative workshops on a wide range of topics, including infusing STEM into the curriculum, fostering mindfulness at the elementary level, planning read-aloud sessions, making math fluency fun, and effectively utilizing Google Classroom, 3-D printers and other technologies. All of the workshops were designed to help teachers make instruction more interesting and engaging for their students.

Dr. Rogers delivered an inspiring speech about how collaboration can lead to innovative change in the classroom when colleagues share ideas on how to help young people think more creatively and critically.

“We all have interests; we all have various skills sets; we all have things that we have worked on or explored more deeply, and when we bring those things together, the group itself is stronger because of our varied individual strengths,” said Dr. Rogers, who emphasized that by harnessing their collective imagination, Syosset’s educators could “innovate and iterate.”  

Keynote speaker Dr. Sean Justice of Columbia University Teachers College shared his research and insights into the “maker movement,” in which individuals create and market products that are recreated and assembled using unused, discarded raw materials, including computer parts. Through his keynote address and some simple visuals, he demonstrated to the audience of teachers how a little ingenuity can go a long way toward both engaging and empowering students.