Monday, August 5, 2013

TTEC: Empowered through Collaboration

TTEC Participant Kristy Duris
I will describe the summer institute for TTEC in one word – amazing. Amazing teachers, amazing presenters, amazing facility, amazing food- all of these elements came together to create an inspirational, motivating experience for me. I left with a strong grasp on the philosophy of place based service learning, as well as a vast amount of strategies and tools to help me implement it.
I would like to commend TTEC for modeling the main ideas of the program during the summer institute. First, NCTC fully embodied the the principle “grounded in place.” This facility provided an optimal environment (trails, trees, rivers, flowers, ATC center, etc.) to practice and understand how place matters when learning new concepts and skills, such as we were. TTEC is the most “real” professional development I have attended in years; what I do with this information will impact my students as they learn about community, the natural world, and more. Through the tools and information presented by everyone in TTEC, I am “empowered.” I feel as though I can do and will do. The fourth principle, “collaboration,” is the strength of my success in this program. My colleague and I joined TTEC together and developed an interdisciplinary unit between wellness and English. In addition to that, we both have whole school goals, working collaboratively with the entire school to bring an increased awareness to our staff and students about “place.” These principles reside more than just in my mind, they truly have become a part of my heart and how I want to live.
I experienced several “a-ha” moments during the week, I had a revelation that includes using the AT as the focal point for my 9th wellness course. I realized that with the AT as the focal point, I could teach several of the power standards of my discipline, such as decision making and advocacy for health, around it. With the same idea in mind, I had my second revelation; my 8th Project Venture class (which is focused on service learning) could be a focal point for the core classes (math, science, English, etc.). Project Venture can help teach those skills/concepts through our experience with placed based service learning. And this is just the beginning.
I am grateful to teachers in this cohort as well, sharing their experiences helped me shape my goals for PBSL. I was impressed with the rigor of the expectations as well as with TTEC's incorporation of education's current best practices (UBD, CCSS, etc.). Also, I am confident that I can write a grant, thanks to the grant writing workshop. I found each part of the summer institute valuable, relevant, and engaging. Thank you, TTEC!

Post and picture by Kristy Duris
Profile School
Bethlehem, NH

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