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Community school hosts experts in education

Saturday mornings are usually reserved for sleeping in, having a huge breakfast or catching up on your episodes saved to your DVR. For Induction & Mentoring Program teachers, the morning of December 15 was filled with enlightening and reinvigorating professional development.

Under the umbrella of the National Center for Urban Education, the Induction & Mentoring program is the last piece to the Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline. Upon graduating and being hired at a Chicago Public School, Illinois State graduates have the opportunity to join the 2-year long program at the beginning of their career. In this program, graduates have the opportunity to have the mentorship of a veteran teacher in their school building and receive professional development sessions based on topics they request. Mentors are given the opportunity to be trained as effective mentors and all receive Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) towards their teaching license as well as other perks to being in the program.

Illinois State graduates, along with their mentors, had the opportunity to receive knowledge for their “teacher tool kit” from two different experts, Kristen Hovious and Maria Ovalle. Each workshop was 80 minutes and was held at Madero Middle School, located in the Little Village neighborhood.  Little Village is one of the five community partners with Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline. There are currently several graduates teaching at Madero who also serve as teacher leaders in the building.  Madero Middle School was chosen as a site for professional development as they are a partner school in our pipeline and work closely to provide Illinois State preservice teachers with opportunities before and after graduation.

Hovious’ workshop, “Social/Emotional Learning: Positive Discipline, Classroom Management, and Leadership,” was well received by newly minted and veteran teachers. Educators were enlightened about assisting classroom behavior by working closely with students to understand their point of view and showing empathy for all students. Many educators were pleased with the easy-to-use strategies presented. Many educators were eager to use these strategies in their classroom the following Monday.

“Inclusion in the General Education Classroom” was presented by Maria Ovalle, a special education specialist at Curie High School. Through Ovalle’s workshop, educators participated in engaging activities that can be readily used in their classroom, making it easier to include students with special needs into general classroom instruction. Many educators enjoyed the information so much, they wished there was more time than the 80 minutes allotted. Within both workshops, educators were granted the opportunity to role-play and interact in various activities they could readily use.

This professional development was also a great opportunity to showcase one of our partner schools within our collaborative communities. Principal José Luis Illanes welcomed the groups into their school building with the opportunity to assist with any needs. Our work with communities and partner schools helps to push forth the NCUE goal of creating community teachers through reciprocity and collaboration. Sharing experts in the field of urban education in Chicago in the space of a community partner school showcases the National Center for Urban Education’s mission to cultivate and sustain effective educators for urban schools and their communities.