As we begin to enjoy the warm weather June brings, here at Project ExcEL, we also reintroduce our Annual Summer Institutes! Every year, Project ExcEL creates a space for teachers to gather, network, exchange brilliant ideas, and plan for the upcoming school year.
Our Summer Institutes event has expanded in 2017 and will take place in two states: Connecticut (CT) and New York (NY). The events will be held on August 21st through the 22nd in CT and August 23rd through the 24th in NY from 8:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. The event is free for teachers in the ExcEL districts to attend.
Brainstorming and planning for the Summer Institute takes place prior to the event and is coordinated by the UCLA and Project ExcEL staff. This allows for a more fun and informative event. Most importantly, this one-stop-shop strategy allows our teachers to soak in new techniques in two, short days so they can readily return to enjoying their summer vacation or expand on what they’ve learned during the break.
The Summer Institute will help project teachers learn about the use of formative assessment to personalize instruction for English Learners. We will have ‘expert’ teachers joining us all the way from California to talk about their experiences using these tools and how they have improved their instruction.
A recurring tradition of the Summer Institutes Seminar is the table hopping sessions. Teachers from different schools give 2-minute presentations on a teaching technique they found successful in the previous school year. After presentations, teachers break off into groups to discuss and rotate from table-to-table chiming in on the various discussions.
A major discussion point this year will be the basic immigration concepts and terms affecting students, and how schools can prepare to respond to a variety of situations. These discussions will be led by immigration experts serving the local communities – Sr. Kelly Carpenter from the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Life Center in NY and Maria Harlow from the Spanish Community of Wallingford in CT.
In an age where almost everything can be learned through a simple Google search, teachers are an important asset toward nurturing critical thinking skills. As Jason Cervone, Ph.D., Project Director of the ExcEL Leadership Academy stated:
“One of the greatest things America did was guarantee all people a high quality and equal education. Unfortunately, there are so many barriers in place that we have yet to follow through on that promise. Project ExcEL is an effort to make things a little more just for those students who are still learning English. Language should never be a barrier to education.”
Our hope is that every teacher walks away from the Summer Institutes event with new strategies they can use to inspire, educate and motivate during the 2017-2018 school year.