Dr. Russel Quaglia and Dr. Lisa Lande led the Teacher Leader Academy fall professional learning for over 180 of Cobb’s finest teachers.
This year’s 5th annual 2019-2020 Teacher Leader Academy fall kickoff was September 5-6th. Over 180 teachers participated and were led by Dr. Russ Quaglia and Dr. Lisa Lande of the Quaglia Institute for School Voice and Aspirations. They inspired and motivated everyone both days and encouraged the teachers to make changes in their classrooms. This was a two day training following an intensive Summer Teacher Leader Academy which was held for four days – May 28-31st.
To raise awareness about social emotional learning, one of the larger group activities was the Dot Activity, where teachers had a dot placed upon their body without seeing its color. Then, without speaking, teachers had to sort themselves into groups. The twist was that one person had a shiny gold sticker instead of a red, green, blue or yellow sticker. After debriefing the activity, the teacher who was given the gold sticker talked about that experience. Although having a special sticker could make them feel happy, the teacher still felt like an outcast. The positivity of the “gold sticker” reminds teachers to be mindful of similar situations in which students may feel alone. There were also other activities, such as “speed dating,” where people introduced themselves and talked about school related problem-solving ideas to give teachers an opportunity to speak with various content and grade level teacher leaders. This is a great opportunity for vertical and horizontal discussions which rarely can occur at schools.
Pictured above are some of the teachers from the many academic groups that attended. There were teachers from Early Learning, World Languages, English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, STEM, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Special Education, Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE), Health/PE, and Media Specialists. As part of the two day fall Teacher Leader Academy, teachers connected both with teachers within their content areas listed above and additionally with other teacher leaders in other content areas. Due to the horizontal and vertical teaming, teachers could help others with innovative ways to teach their content to students in addition to hearing their “student voice.” The teachers that were selected had principal recommendations and were chosen amongst a large pool of teacher leaders. The teachers chosen are willing to change their practices to teach students better. Overall, it was an energizing and powerful professional learning event and every teacher walked away with instructional strategies about how to actively engage and motivate their students in addition to giving students opportunities for their voice to be heard.
Dawn Hudson, Supervisor
Professional Learning, Instruction & Innovative Practice