The Best Professional Development Ever!

Date: March 18 2017

 For the past two days, Daystar Academy staff had a chance to take on a different type of role-one of a “student” versus a teacher or administrator. Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle School all held tailored professional development workshops. And according to the teachers and staff, they were a resounding success!


The Art of Observation

Over at our Guantang campus, the first day kicked off with Montessori-inspired ice breakers, followed by a comprehensive presentation on “The Art of Observation”, conducted by Jasmine Class’s English lead teacher Marian Brina. Meanwhile, the afternoon session focused on Virtues training. Both sessions were very interactive, and everyone was incredibly engaged. The first day ended with some great bonding over karaoke!

On Friday, all the teachers had a chance to visit their peers at other Montessori kindergartens in Beijing. In Ms. Brina’s words: "Today was a great opportunity for us to observe, reflect and appreciate someone else’s children… someone else’s prepared environment… someone else’s daily routine… someone else’s circle time. Let today’s peer observation unfold into a beautiful experience for us all."

In the final part, everyone gathered again for final reflections. The two day training was great for team building, interaction, and many commented that it was one of the best PDs ever organized!


Engaged Learners

Over in Elementary and Middle School, the main theme of their professional development was “Engaged Learners”, with the following focus:

Elementary Chinese

“Increasing Student Engagement through Learning Centers”

Elementary English

“Engaging Students through Differentiated Writing Experiences”

Middle School

“Engaging Students in Cross-curricular Writing Experiences”

Our head of school Elizabeth Hardage had a chance to share her vast experience in classroom teaching and training, leading the Chinese elementary teachers in their workshops. The main objective for the Chinese elementary teachers’ professional development was to provide them with more tips and tools for hands-on learning and student involvement during their instructional time.

Meanwhile for English elementary, special trainer Marcy Chesebro led their two day workshops. Based in Texas, Ms Chesebro is an Elementary Language Arts Instructional Specialist for a large urban school district, with close to 20 years of experience in education. The goal of her visit was to provide Daystar English elementary teachers with practical ways to help them promote writing among our students. Many gave her glowing praises, saying she was a very effective trainer.

Finally for our Middle School teachers, Shawna Turner our 6th and 7th Grade English Language and Literature Teacher took the lead for the training. She was well qualified to do so, as before joining Daystar last August, she had spent three years as a Language Arts Curriculum Training Specialist. Again, it’s about sharing experiences, and providing concrete and useful tips to enhance student learning-in this case, to enhance middle school student writing across different subjects. Our Athletics Coordinator Matt Heyman did his own PD with the PE teachers, while Daystar administrators also received some helpful training to support their role.

Some comments from the teachers:

“This PD was really great and very practical. The facilitator not only provided strategies but she was able to model everything that made everything she was saying clear and easy to follow. “

“Very effective training sessions that gave me easily transferable strategies to use in the classroom. Thank you Daystar”.

Of course, a professional development is never complete without delicious food, and in true Daystar style we had that too! Staff were treated to a mouth-watering catered meal from Mexican favorite Avocado Tree on Friday, followed by school-made chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

Thank you to everyone for their hard work in making this professional development one of the best ones yet! All of this, is to help our students in their educational journey.