Teachers spend the last days of summer in break out rooms, not the beach, and they were loving it!
(Milford, CT) The Milford Public School teachers and staff spent one of their final days of summer, not on the beach, but in break out rooms to help prepare for the first day of school. But they weren't engaged in activities you would typically affiliate with the beginning of school such as preparing their classrooms, setting up bulletin boards and writing lesson plans.
Instead, they were engaged in professional learning around strategies to help identify and manage the fundamental pressures and stresses that teachers and students experience not only at the beginning of the school year, but throughout the entire year. With the increasing demand on teachers and students coupled with the pressure of societal and technological influences, it is imperative that a focus on unity, self-care, and social and emotional development be at the forefront of our work.
OneDayForDayOne provides exactly that - One Day of togetherness, workshops, and networking where best practices are shared all in preparation for Day One, and beyond. With this year's theme of "You've got to Nourish to Flourish," much of the focus was around taking care of our mind, bodies and souls in order to serve our students to our fullest capacity, especially during our most demanding and stressful times.
The day was made possible through a partnership between Milford Public Schools and the Milford Education Foundation, a 501c3 organization whose focus is to promote excellence, creativity, and innovation in education for our children and the community
Some highlights of the day include:
A kickoff keynote by Dr. Jennifer Ju entitled Mind, Body, Spirit. Her focus was on how all 3 relate to each other, and work together. In particular, Dr. Ju pointed out how you can flip the tables on stress and wire your brain to use it as an asset, not your adversary.
Dr. Alicia Farrell a Cognitive Psychologist, and former University Professor, presented 3 workshops focusing on Anxiety, and the impact on technology in the lives of children and adults.
What was most unique about the program was that it relied very little on outside experts and very much on the expertise and intellectual capital residing right within the Milford Public School system. This helped build a bond among the teachers while they learned some practical new ideas and practices for the coming year:
Raising our EQ: Tools for Emotional Intelligence Presented by Daniela Marchitto, Teacher, Calf Pen Meadow Elementary School. Yale's Center for Emotional Intelligence's RULER (Recognize, Understand, Label, Express, Regulate) approach was used as a basis for this workshop that will help teachers to recognize their emotions and their students' which ultimately helps them both to deal with various relationships in and out of the classroom
Toolbox for Teachers: Finding Success with Challenging Students Presented by Jennifer Simon, Health Teacher, East Shore Middle School. This workshop focused on the "invisible backpacks" filled with both positive and negative experiences that occur beyond the walls of the school buildings - helping teachers to determine "why" some students misbehave.
Mindfulness in Life & School Presented by Melissa Costantini, Teacher, Live Oaks Elementary School. This workshop introduced easy to use mindfulness strategies for the teacher that can easily be transferred into the school setting and work with students
Mindful Movement in the Classroom Presented by Michael Marchetti, PE Teacher, Orange Ave. Elementary School. This session entertained the crowd with a purpose. It not only introduced movement into the body, but also aimed to train the mind and lift spirits for the remainder of the day.
When We Believe, We Achieve: The Power of a Growth Mindset Presented by Sydney Hyatt, Teacher, JFK Elementary School. This workshop reinforced how to embrace a growth mindset and create a classroom environment with resilient, independent and reflective learners who persevere when faced with a struggle and grow from their mistakes in order to improve their learning.
S.E.L.F Strong! Presented by Melissa Currier, Principal, Mathewson Elementary School. This included some engaging work and tools from the Yale Emotional Intelligence Center and other sources to keep teachers and students at their BEST throughout the year.
Making the Most of your Morning Meeting & Advisory Presented by Alesha Kelley, Teacher, Calf Pen Meadow Elementary School
Gender & Sexuality: Inclusivity for All Presented by Theresa Voss, Music Teacher, Foran High School. Gender has become a pervasive topic of discussion in our society and in the field of education. This workshop emphasized the "moral vigilance" to look at our own practices, recognize our own biases, and embrace the ever-evolving spectra of gender and sexual identity.
"This day helped us realize that we have so much in common across grades and disciplines, especially when it comes to some of the so called "softer" issues that are critical to a student's success," said Annaliese Spaziano, Instructional Supervisor of Student Development at Milford Public Schools.
Ed Faruolo, President of the Milford Education Foundation added, "Every day, teachers and students are faced with new pressures they couldn't predict. Bringing together the best, brought out the best producing sensible, and vital approaches for the coming school year!"
Quotes from teachers who attended:
"I gained a wealth of knowledge and practices that I can use for myself, my family and best of all my students. I left with a huge smile on my face feeling refreshed and recharged"
MaryEllen Luth, Kindergarten Teacher at Live Oaks Elementary School
"If I had to choose one word to describe One Day for Day One it is 'rejuvenated.' So ready to get back into work, feeling refreshed, and feeling good!"
Melissa Currier, Principal, Mathewson Elementary School
"I love One Day! This is my second year attending, it is super inspiring and it helps me to be mindful in my classroom which I definitely need!"
Lisa Farrell, Teacher, Foran High School
"The One Day experience is the best. I attended last year and used everything I learned in my classroom and I can't wait to apply what I have learned this year in my classroom to support students!"
Elementary School Teacher, Milford Public Schools
"I'm honored to take this moment and recognize this extraordinary project. What Dr. Ju and Ed Faruolo and Annaliese Spaziano have pulled together in terms of a meaningful day for these teachers… I have to say we are extremely impressed"
Cathleen Buchanan, The Graduate Institute, President