Monday, March 29, 2010

Maximize Professional Development Opportunities

     One of the best—and least expensive—ways to maximize professional development opportunities at school is to have conference, workshop, or school-visit experiences brought back to your school by those who attend.  A quick email summarizing the experience or a presentation at faculty and staff meetings, sharing the experience helps everyone learn from the experience.  Here is a recent email I sent to my school colleagues:

Having just returned from attending the 50th Anniversary Annual Conference of AMS in Boston, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of my professional development experience.  Being among 3,000 Montessori educators, networking, talking about BHMS, and learning was a treat.  It was during our spring break so I could be there and not have to feel guilty about missing school!

Speakers Heard & Sessions Attended
• Maren Schmidt, author of the book Understanding Montessori A Guide for Parents
• Dr. Stephanie Pace Marshall - Transforming Minds: Reimaging Learning and Schooling for the 21st Century
• Judi Bauerlein - Living Legacy recipient for 2010 (I had the good fortune to work with her on an accreditation.)
• Dr. Diane Levin - So Sexy So Soon: How Media and Marketing Affect Our Children . . . and What We Can Do to protect Them
• Daniel Pink - author of the bestselling book Drive.  I had the good fortune to interview him for a future article in Montessori Life.
• A session on On-line learning
• A session on what is new in and the future of Montessori research projects and programs
• A session on Montessori research
• Annual AMS Meeting
• Attend a Heads' networking session with over 100 heads of Montessori schools from all over the country.  Many thoughts and ideas were exchanged.

Purchased signed books and CDs for our professional development library
• Montessori in Practice by Lakshmi A. Kripalani - Observations from someone who learned and worked with Dr. Montessori.
• Building Cathedrals Not Walls by Maren Schmidt - Essays for parents and teachers
• Montessori Comes to America by Phyllis Povell - The leadership of Maria Montessori and Nancy McCormick Rambusch - I was able to attend a session to hear Phyllis read from her book.

As an AMS Board member, I had the privilege to be with some of the best and brightest in Montessori education.  Part of our time together was a dinner for the Board hosted by the Kingsley School, a nearby Montessori school for toddlers through sixth grade.  Also, I attended a Gala dinner in celebration of Nancy McCormick Rambusch, founder of AMS, and the Society's 50th Anniversary.

Present a session to 65 heads, trustees, and administrators with Bob Fricker (a consultant BHMS used on strategic planning) on building a healthy board.

Meeting new people throughout my time is always a treat.

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