Amy Bollinger: Chances to learn | SteamboatToday.com

Amy Bollinger: Chances to learn

The Northwest Board of Cooperative Educational Services organized and hosted a professional development day Oct. 10 on behalf of its six members and one associate member districts. This event brought together 630 of Northwest Colorado's licensed teachers and administrators from Moffat, Hayden, Steamboat Springs, South Routt, West Grand, East Grand and North Park school districts to provide them with their choice of learning opportunities to enhance their competencies and become more effective in their classroom in an effort to maximize student achievement across northwest Colorado.

The theme for this day, COLLAB, stands for Communities Of Learning Lead to Achievement By all students. This theme was chosen to reflect the collaborative efforts of these seven districts, which personify the NW BOCES efforts to make this day long professional development day be the best learning experience it can be.

This professional development day was held at Steamboat Springs High School, and the day started with registration, a light breakfast, vendor tables and networking. Then all participants met in 34 different job-alike facilitated World Café sessions. These sessions were an opportunity for staff to engage with other district staff that share their same challenges and share ideas and brainstorm strategies to support their work.

An introductory video, filmed locally, was shown during the World Cafés, which welcomed everyone and featured students and teachers in all seven school districts sharing their statements of what excites them about teaching and learning in our Northwest Region of Colorado.

All participants then attended three additional professional development break-out sessions throughout the day with over 115 sessions to choose from. These sessions were presented by teachers, administrators and Colorado Department of Education specialists along with state and national presenters.

This third annual event was again funded through Colorado Regional BOCES grant funds and, new this year, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching grant.

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Another new feature this year was the presentation of a Motivational & Inspirational Leaders & Educators award to one staff person in each of our 29 school buildings who went the Extra MILE to inspire, support and motivate students and staff. Congratulation to all of this year's recipients.

Many thanks go out to the Steamboat Springs school district for hosting this event, providing the technology support for all of the day's sessions, their nutritional staff who provided breakfast, lunch and snacks and their custodial staff who supported the day.

A huge thank you to the NW BOCES Professional Development Committee comprised of a district representative from all seven districts; the ECET2 Teacher Planning Committee; all of the day's World Café facilitators and Topic break-out session presenters; Greg Hughey from Colorado Mountain College for filming the introductory video; the Colorado Department of Education for the financial support through the Regional grant; to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Arabella Advisors for the ECET2 grant funding; the Zero Hero Green Recycling Team for making the event a zero/no waste event; and an especially heartfelt thank you to Julie Dalke and the NW BOCES central office staff for their hard work and dedication to making COLLAB 2014 a success beyond measure.

Amy Bollinger Northwest BOCES
executive director

Steamboat Springs

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