Sharing Ideas on Superintendent’s Conference Days

Syosset Teachers Cross Disciplines, Share Ideas and go to ‘Camp’ on Superintendent’s Conference Days photo

As part of its final preparation for the 2017-18 school year, the Syosset Central School District hosted a three-day Learning Institute designed to bring teachers together to share new and innovative ways to use technology in the classroom and “crosscut” subject areas to make learning experiences truly dynamic for students this year.

Following a day filled with on-site and departmental meetings at the various schools, the district’s entire instructional staff gathered at Syosset High School for an inspirational assembly led by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers. In his address, Dr. Rogers stated that the “why” of educators’ work must begin and end with their students. Not merely to prepare them for the colleges that will be their next step, but rather at the futures they will inhabit after.

“Our obligation is to prepare students as best we can to live successfully in that future. So that they raise families and enjoy all of the privileges of living in this wonderful country and realize all of the joys of realizing their own full potential,” said Dr. Rogers. “That’s got to be the ‘why’ that drives us, and the future that we can imagine for those students has to be the future that we prepare them for.”

Several speakers delivered inspiring messages as well, including Board of Education President Dr. Michael Cohen, Syosset Teacher’s Association President Kim Pritchard, Harry B. Thompson Middle School Principal James Kassebaum and Deputy Superintendent Adele Bovard, who served as the mistress of ceremonies for the assembly portions of the conference days. 

The assembly was followed by workshops on technology and crosscutting for teachers of all grade levels held at the high school led by 77 trained teacher facilitators. The teacher to teacher conversation focused on building knowledge about technology and cross cutting in the classroom and beginning the work of customizing lessons to use with students in the fall.  The third day of the conference featured secondary-level workshops, also held at the high school, and conducted in an EdCamp format. EdCamp is a participant-driven experience that places the teachers in charge of their own learning by allowing them to submit ideas and lead workshops on a variety of instructional topics based on their familiarity with and expertise in a given area. More than 65 EdCamp workshops were held; a large board situated in the main cafeteria was created for teachers to post their workshops after conferring with conference coordinators. Elementary teachers conducted additional crosscutting workshops at their home buildings in concert with the EdCamp. Responses to Intervention workshops were also held at H.B. Thompson during the three-day conference.

At the end of each of the final two days, teachers of all grade levels reconvened in the high school auditorium for a “share-out” in which they shared their thoughts on the different skills they learned during the workshops in which they participated, including how this would help them to amplify instruction moving forward. Teachers shared their thoughts verbally, as well as through Padlet and Twitter posts, which were shown live on a large screen in the auditorium. 

The conference days culminated with an inspirational video capturing the cohesiveness and collaborative spirit of the Syosset staff that was demonstrated during the three days — a mere snapshot of what takes place throughout the year.