Teacher Welcome Back & Digital Learning 2.0

Teacher Welcome Back &

Digital Learning 2.0

IMG_0172The annual welcome back for teachers took place at the Curtis Peterson Auditorium this morning. It is always a mix of emotions—new teachers nervous about starting, and returning teachers wanting to get back to their classroom and work.  There is excitement of the new year and a little sadness that the short summer break went by so quickly.  This is always a big event and there is often a big surprise (or two).

This welcome back would be immediately followed by a massive digital learning professional development. Lindy Woythaler, Director of Professional Development opened the day and introduced Superintendent Sandra “Sam” Himmel. Superintendent Himmel welcomed the teachers back and talked about the importance of a special group of individuals to our schools and then opened the stage’s curtain to reveal our Citrus County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers and Sheriff Jeff Dawsey to honor them for their service to our students, staff and schools. The very packed audience “roared” as they clapping and gave a standing ovation, screaming with pride and appreciation for their service.  Sheriff Dawsey talked about his upcoming retirement and of the outstanding relationship between the Sherriff’s office and the School District and talked about how rare that was. Sheriff Dawsey seemed most taken back by the support and appreciation of the audience.

Co2_EI3WgAArc62If all of that were not enough Superintendent Himmel had another special guest to introduce. Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.  Commissioner Stewart came down from Tallahassee to help welcome back our teachers.  She has recently completed her radiation treatments at the Tampa Moffitt Center and she opened up briefly about her cancer recovery.  Commissioner Stewart shared what the consistent and outstanding accomplishments of Citrus County Schools and she praised the teachers and the leadership team under Superintendent Himmel.  Commissioner Stewart explained that the digital expectation and successful technology implementation of curriculum done in Citrus County Schools exceeds that of most districts. She explained that it is time that teaching moves away from a textbook and focus on teaching standards using teachers’ expertise and the digital one-to-one device as the curriculum.  I believe wholeheartedly with Commissioner Stewart and am confident that is what Citrus Schools is doing.

The session then moved on to the digital training.  Over 200 Citrus teachers provided some of the most cutting edge training to our over 1,100 teachers.  This level of expertise in the past would have cost a school district tens-to-hundreds of thousands of dollars. Click here to read the catalog of the day’s breakout sessions. I was honored to be asked to present a learning session and presented, ‘Digital Tools for Struggling Students’.  The session shared about how to use digital tools that provide personalized support for struggling readers and writers. I provided suggestions on how these tools may be utilized for IEPs and PMPs.  Click here to see the presentation.

I am so proud of the exciting talents of our educators in Citrus County and how our students will benefit from our teachers’ talents and insight.  It is going to be another great school year!

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