Bonny Slope staff were honored to host PYP pioneer, Ellen Alquist, for a two-day, in-depth staff professional training last February. This remarkable opportunity was funded through BSCO’s PYP Training line item and your generous BSCO donation.
Mrs. Alquist was one of twelve members that wrote the International Schools Curriculum Project, which evolved into what we now know as the PYP. In addition, Alquist has been an educational consultant for over 40 years, leading workshops and consultations worldwide.
Historically, professional development is offered to an entire staff who all receive the same message, such as Lynn Erickson’s visit last school year (also funded via BSCO funds). However, this year’s PYP training took a different tactic with specialized feedback and learning for each grade level and specialist team.
Amy Mitchell, BSE’s PYP coordinator, was excited for this new strategy. “Ms. Alquist’s visit was unique, in that she tailored the professional development to each team's specific needs/requests. During an hour long collaboration meeting with each team, she was able to target the small group and provide time for questions, thoughts, wonderings and what ifs. It isn't that it's a better approach, just a unique one that many schools don't get the opportunity to have,” commented Mitchell.
BSE teachers highly valued the experience. Second grade teacher, Katie Bergerson-Allen, shared, "It was WONDERFUL to have Ellen visit! In the short time she was here she helped second grade improve our central idea for our How We Organize Ourselves unit of inquiry as well as give us some great economy resources. Ellen shared a lot of valuable insight in our collaboration time. As a learner myself, I loved the pacing, and rigor of the PD session-- well worth my time! Probably the most valuable thing I walked away with from Ellen's time was learning a few strategic ways to increase the level of high expectations for ALL of my students from a classroom management perspective."
Fourth grade teacher, Erica Chiotti, was grateful for the opportunity, stating, “Our time with Ellen was priceless. Thank you BSCO for this wonderful opportunity. With Ellen's guidance, expertise and collaboration, the 4th grade team was able to revise an entire unit of inquiry to better meet the needs of our students. Additionally, Ellen was able to offer amazing instructional and assessment ideas that we plan on using this year."
Mitchell described the value of the entire visit by declaring, “Ellen really supported us with inquiry practices in the classroom-- how to better meet students' needs through inquiry based learning, assessments and feedback. She helped strengthen our current units of inquiry and provided many resources that our staff can use for years to come. She's maintained open dialogue with me, which has been so helpful in following up with clarifications and lingering questions. Overall, her visit was a great success and we have BSCO to thank for making that happen!”