“I can’t wait to put into action all I have learned,” said Barbara Verrett, Pre-K teacher at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School. Yes, a teacher is the one doing the learning. Along with all Pre-K through 1st grade teachers, Barbara attended Orton-Gillingham training through the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education. Teachers came back from five full days of training with tools they could use in the classroom the very next day.
Both in the spiritual and academic life, Mercy’s goal is for each member of the community to fulfill their God-given potential. With this end in mind, the parish and school have invested time and money in support of professional development. Since the 2012-2013 school year, the Mercy Annual Fund has enabled faculty and staff to attend over 50 different professional development conferences, workshops, and training sessions. Our Lady of Mercy knows that prioritizing professional development opportunities for faculty and staff yields great fruit in the life of every student.
“We believe that the more teachers learn, the more students learn,” says Claire Willis, Assistant Principal for Academics. “By continuing their own education, teachers can hone their craft and constantly add strategies to their ‘toolbox.’ The classroom becomes a community where teachers model an attitude of lifelong learning.”
In the past year, every teacher, staff person, and administrator at Mercy has taken advantage of an opportunity to grow professionally. Middle school math teachers attended the National Conference for Teaching Mathematics to stay up-to-date about best practices in their content area. All 36 teachers with Promethean Interactive White Boards in their classrooms received extensive training to utilize 21st century educational technology in the classroom. Administrators also participated in the National Catholic Education Association Conference in Houston. While many students are in summer mode during June and July, Mercy faculty and staff are capitalizing on the time off to attend conferences like the Kagan Summer Institute in Orlando, where they learned strategies to increase student engagement and achievement.
“Mercy is a place where teachers seek to become the best educators they can be, constantly searching for new ideas and methods that will improve the students’ classroom experience and increase their learning,” says Principal Brian Moscona. “Our community is committed to giving our students the best education possible, which starts with excellent teachers who desire continuous learning and growth through high quality professional development experiences.”
When teachers grow, students grow. Students and teachers alike can continue along their path toward Heaven equipped for a life of prayer, knowledge, and service.