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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Monday, December 18, 2006

The Provincial government has provided funds for OECTA and the other affiliates to provide professional development opportunities for all members, permanent and occasional. OECTA has allocated the funds to two initiatives for members:

  • PD funding for 10 pilot Collaborative Learning Communities or Book Study Groups.
  • PD funding for local units to expand upon OECTA’s ongoing professional development initiatives “by teachers for teachers”.

Our local PD committee met on December 13 to review the information on these two initiatives and begin discussions as to the most beneficial and self-sustaining ways Eastern members can be served by these funds. The following is a summary of the directions suggested by the committee. We do want your input since on-going professional development should be teacher-directed, meeting your professional needs.

· First - The application deadline for the Collaborative Learning Communities or Book Study Groups pilots is Friday, January 12, 2007.

In our Board, there has been much work done with both these initiatives. Now there is a further opportunity for up to 8 teachers to come together as collaborative learning/book study teams to discuss and reflect upon topics of interest. The form of inquiry for collaborative learning may include action research, lesson study or other forms of inquiry that addresses the needs of teachers. For book studies, groups will enter into discussion, reflection and collaboration on a book(s) related to improving teaching and learning in an area of interest. In both, an on-line component and face-to-face opportunities are desirable. There will be six half days provided for the collaborative projects, and two half days for the book studies.
Project teams will provide feedback to provincial office on the ways to ensure the projects meet the needs of teachers, as there will be opportunities for participation next year.

Application deadline: Friday, January 12, 2006
Project window: February 5th to May 20th.

We are seeking teachers who are interested in the pilot projects outlined above. Please call the Unit Office for more information or to access our help in putting together a group to pursue a topic. The group (up to 8) may be from elementary, secondary, occasional or a grouping with teachers from all three panels.

Time is short to apply, so please give some thought to a topic that interests you and might lend itself to this pilot. Read on to learn more about the second PD initiative.

  • Second - Eastern determines the allocation of funds for the second PD opportunity being provided by OECTA through Ministry of Education funding.

Our PD committee has proposed using a portion of these funds to bring in workshops from OECTA’s PD Network. A catalog of these workshops “by teachers for teachers” is available at www.oecta.on.ca. Click on OECTA AQ’s, Courses, Workshops, Conferences; and then PD Network catalog. “How to Make Classroom Organization Work for You” and “Holistic Living for Healing and Wellness” were two the committee saw as possibilities for our teachers, permanent and occasional. The first, in early spring and the second in conjunction with our Wellness Evening

Some of the funds can be used by teachers to create workshops (possibly flowing from the pilot projects) which can then be presented to our teachers.

Other PD discussed was working with local historical or environmental groups/sites to develop networks or projects which other teachers can access to enhance teaching and learning. (i.e. exploring the educational possibilities of cultural, historical and architectural sites in Glengarry County or Brockville; beginnings of religious communities/parishes in Kemptville or Vankleek Hill)

One such possible project proposal was outlined by a member of the committee who has had brainstorming sessions with colleagues about engaging students in authentic learning situations that encompass English, History and Math. It would be designed for adaptation for elementary students as well as secondary.

We want your input so the Unit proposal for funding from Provincial Office suits your professional development needs. We have contacted the Board to find a time to discuss partnering in PD initiatives.

The committee will meet again in January to review suggestions and begin setting our a plan for Eastern.

Interested in participating in a project and/or on the local committee? Contact the Unit Office at 1-888-250-3799

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