DAA Summer PD 2014

IMG_5749 Two weeks before schools begins, Detroit Achievement Academy’s halls are buzzing. Although no students are in the building, the DAA staff is working hard to ensure a great school year is about to begin! During this time, the staff enters DAA’s doors as leaders and learners; it’s our professional development.

Teachers are students too—always growing and learning how to make our practices better. We use all our habits of character to stay focused and engaged as we brainstorm about the best ways to meet the needs of our students. DAA’s creative protocols are great ways for teachers to interact with each other, share ideas, and gain an understanding of the best practices.

We use various hands-on protocols to share information, such as our “gallery walk.” Each group of teachers focuses on an aspect of a topic; our goal is to generate and write ideas related to that topic on a poster. When all groups have created their poster, they are displayed as if they’re in an art gallery. We then walk around our pop-up art gallery to learn and share important information and make connections to our new knowledge.

Another protocol we use to learn new information is called a “jigsaw.” Each teacher reads part of an article and jots down the key points. Teachers then pair up and share their findings with each other. Then, we randomly switch post-its! Now each pair has new information to learn from the new post-it. Eventually, by piecing together all the information like a jigsaw, teachers understand the whole topic it and can teach it to others.

Professional development inspires teachers who don’t normally interact with each other on a daily basis to work together to achieve our collective goals for the school. What sets DAA's professional development apart from others, is that all staff members are involved in essential decisions to better our school. We are all able to voice our ideas and really have a say and a part in creating the school’s culture.

 During professional development, we discuss our expectations for our students and their families, our selves, and our school. We share our hopes and dreams for the school year and really get to know each other as a part of the DAA family. The way the DAA staff comes together and collaborates about our hopes for the year is truly magical! We can’t wait to see you soon!