Sunday, March 17, 2013

#TCRWP Saturday Reunion - A New Can't Miss for Me!

 This is the first post of three or four that I will be writing about the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Saturday Reunion that took place on Saturday, March 9th.  There are so many wonderful things to write about the day, but in this post I wanted to start with what I see as inspirational.

There are some teachers and administrators in my district who have attended #TCRWP Saturday Reunion in the past.  I had the pleasure of attending the one in the fall of 2012.  I met up with several other administrators and teachers from the district; there were a handful, maybe 10 or 12.  I have to say that I was intrigued when I found out that I could go to Columbia University for a day and listen to keynote speeches by famous authors and progressive minds in the fields of teaching reading and writing (wait for it.....) FOR FREE!  The impressive selection of workshops numbers over 100 and the conversation is phenomenal.

After attending last fall, several administrators discussed getting a group together to go in the spring.  Our Coordinator of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction approached the Superintendent about supplying a coach bus for the trip.  In true Hopewell fashion our Superintendent basically said if you can fill it, we'll supply it!  So, over the next couple of weeks several emails went out to solicit participation in the Saturday Reunion.  After a couple of emails, the message changed from, "come on, it will be a great day" to "hurry up, seats on the bus are almost full!"  Soon we even had a waiting list for the bus.  I don't have the exact number but I know that we had around 50 Hopewell Valley participants!

I mentioned that I was going to tackle what I found inspirational in this post.  It goes without saying that the following things are inspirational:

  • A day devoted to concepts related to teaching reading and writing
  • Several thousand people from around the country (and world) descending upon Teachers College for this day
  • Hearing Catherine Paterson speak about creativity
  • Hearing Lucy Calkins speak about the state of education
  • Having 50 members of Hopewell Valley spend an unpaid Saturday at Teachers College to improve their craft and learn about the most up-to-date strategies, concepts, and ideas for teaching reading and writing!
I am sure the math that I am about to do is fuzzy, but if Hopewell Valley has approximately 400 teachers K-12 and 50 of them went to the Saturday Reunion, that is about 1/8 of the entire staff!  Imagine if we had another bus and we had pushed it at the secondary level like we did at the elementary!

I am humbled and honored to be a lead learner in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District.  Working with dedicated professionals who want only the best for our children is inspiring.  Veteran and new teachers alike spending a Saturday of learning together is my idea of a great learning community.  Edcamps and Saturday Reunions have taught me over the past year or so that the joy of learning is still alive in education and truly alive in New Jersey!

My next several posts will be about some of the wonderful sessions that I attended on March 9th.

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