A Day of Inspiration, Information and Collaboration for Miami Valley Catholic School Educators
March 1, 2013, was a day of inspiration, information and collaboration for Catholic school principals and teachers in the Miami Valley region.
Sponsored by the Center for Catholic Education at the University of Dayton and the Catholic School Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Professional Development Day began with prayer and announcements. Participants from 14 schools, numbering more than 300 people, were engaged by Dr. Tom Lasley’s timely, effective, motivational presentation, which provided a clear picture of changes in global economic and educational contexts impacting local Catholic schools.
Dr. Tom Lasley's Keynote Presentation
Dr. Lasley’s experiences and research as Dean of the School of Education & Allied Professions at the University of Dayton from 1998 until 2010 and now as the executive director of Learn to Earn Dayton at the Dayton Foundation provided a provocative lesson in the necessity to move from teacher-centered to student-learning-centered curriculum. More involved and engaged students following the new common core standards, which have a greater emphasis on critical thinking skills, will enhance the future for each student and for our local and national community. Elizabeth Lasley Cameron, teacher at Centerville High School, engaged participants in a creative lesson that enhanced the theories Dr. Lasley shared. A variety of videos stimulated conversation, helped us see a concept in a new way, made us laugh, and made us wonder.
When teachers were asked about Dr. Lasley’s presentation, responses included the following:
- Dr. Lasley’s presentation was excellent!
- It showed us how important it is to help each student reach their full potential by helping them achieve success.
- His message was timely and thought-provoking.
- It is always meaningful to learn how to do something better. I want my students to be successful in all ways.
- I more fully understand the necessity of having students be kindergarten ready.
- I am inspired to do so much in my classroom.
- Handouts were informative and easy to follow.
- Loved the Five to Thrive, No Opt Out, and Right is Right.
- Fantastic and engaging presentation!
The Center for Catholic Education has been blessed by Dr. Lasley’s support for Catholic education, and on this special day, in a most inspiring way. Thank you, Dr. Lasley!
Breakout Sessions on Bullying and Human Trafficking
Professional Development Day also provided teachers with information on human trafficking and bullying. Dr. Tony Talbott, from the University of Dayton’s Department of Political Science, presented the sobering realities of human trafficking. He informed participants of the tragic situation many children and adolescents face when caught in this growing web. Characteristic behaviors and likely targeted students were identified. Dr. Talbott outlined actions needed to stem the tide of this social injustice, and offered to assist Catholic school personnel in raising awareness and moving forward to protect our students and families.
Brother Don Neff, S.M., and Ms. Elisabeth Friel, Ascension School faculty member, shared resources that teachers could employ in dealing with bullying among students. Brother Don speaks to school personnel around the country, distributing written materials and t-shirts that prompt students to end bullying. Elisabeth spoke of her work with Abolition Ohio, and shared personal stories as a teacher leader in Catholic schools raising awareness about human trafficking and attempting to change attitudes and behaviors in regards to bullying.
Professional Learning Communities
During the final session of the day teachers gathered in small professional learning communities of similar grade levels and content areas to share best practice lesson plans and ideas about curricular issues and assessments. The principals also used the last hour to dream about next steps in professional development for future sessions.
Overall, Professional Development Day provided time to learn, to collaborate, and to be inspired to move forward in the work of Catholic education so as to better prepare students for a bright, faith-filled future, to be watchful and protective of all of our students, and to learn to appreciate the gifts each principal and faculty member brings to our community!