At the Harrison Community Schools Board of Education meeting on January 13 Hillside Elementary staff members and principal, Andrea Andera, shared information about two grant-funded professional development opportunities new to the building.
Principal Andera introduced Amy Romanowski and Heather Jensen, fifth grade teachers, who participated over the summer in the Chippewa River Writing Project (CRWP) at CMU. Through their participation in this extensive writing camp for educators, doors were opened for a collaborative partnership between HCS and CRWP resulting in the successful application of a $20,000 professional development grant for the district. Through this grant, Romanowski and Jensen, along with Hillside teachers Lacey Benton, Tracey Merillat, Andrew McMillan, Lisa Kreider, Lynda Crawford, and HMS teachers Joe Hellberg, Kim Nichols, and Christina Travis, attended an intensive training in writing and writing instruction at Central Michigan University during the fall semester. Romanowski and Jensen also were funded to attend the National Writing Project annual meeting and the National Council for Teachers of English annual conference in Boston. They were excited about the things they had learned through these training opportunities and about the network of professional colleagues they had developed. They also told the Board that they hoped to be successful in bringing a Writing Camp through this program to Harrison for local students next summer.
Mrs. Andrera also introduced Lacey Benton, Lynda Crawford and Michael Long who shared some background information about the TRIG (Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant) that these three Hillside teachers were leading in the building. The teachers described this training which is intended to prepare them to be building and district leaders in the technology initiative. These three each received an iPad for participating in the training, and they are serving as building “coaches” to all Hillside staff as they participate in the technology courses.
With the anticipated switch in Michigan from the MEAP test to the online SBAC (Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium), these teachers will continue to be valuable mentors and trainers for the rest of the staff members. The teachers also were excited about the other teachers they had met during the course of the TRIG training and new ideas they gained from these professional colleagues.
Members of the Board of Education and administration expressed their appreciation for these presentations and for the initiatives taken by these Hillside educators.