APSD Holds First Mid-Year Convocation

APSD Holds Its First Mid-Year Convocation
Posted on 02/01/2019

The Asbury Park School District hosted its first Mid-Year Convocation on Jan. 23, 2019. The concept was the vision of Superintendent Sancha K. Gray, who sought to provide staff with effective training presented by their peers.

“My goal was to offer next-level professional development training done by our staff, for our staff,” Gray said.

ConvocationIt was also an opportunity to offer a tangible example of the results that proper planning and preparation can yield. The overarching goal of the day was for educators to take what they learned and use it in the classroom to benefit their students.

Gray welcomed staff and emphasized that they are all educators, regardless of position. She also encouraged the Blue Bishop Family not to be defined by their job titles or descriptions as they are so much more than that.  

Convocation2Additionally, Gray offered a data presentation that highlighted some of the gains the district has made in the past year. The most dramatic were among third-graders and 11th graders in English Language Arts.  The improvements, which were reflected on Reading Inventory (RI) assessments that are offered three times per year, showed an increase in the number of students who are ready to access content on grade level. While she noted the district has a long way to go, she was grateful for the progress made and the extra effort staff have shown to produce the results thus far.

Convocation3Later, each school was given time in the spotlight to present a video that highlighted their building-specific initiatives.  Gray charged each principal to present the information “in their own way.” Asbury Park High School focused on its Allied Health, Engineering and CTE programs; Barack Obama Elementary highlighted their school store, Girl Scouts and OBI incentive program; Dr. Martin Luther King Middle School showcased its student-led conferences, Google classroom and Project-Based Learning opportunities, to name a few; Thurgood Marshall Elementary featured its Level Up tutoring program, hosted by the school’s special-area teachers; and Bradley Elementary offered staff a look at “A Day in the Life” of a typical student.

Convocation4The keynote address was provided by Dr. Tyrone C. Howard, a member of the HMH Family and professor and associated dean at UCLA. His expertise is in the areas of equity and cultural relevance. He motivated staff to sharpen their saws, build relationships, understand trauma and to listen without judgement.

Convocation5Dr. Kristie M. Howard, Director of Student Services, provided and overview of the Social & Emotional Learning and Wellness services the district offers. She encouraged everyone to take advantage of what’s being provided.

Convocation5The afternoon was designed to help staff “live their best lives,” as 16 workshops were offered covering a plethora of topics – all of which were taught by Asbury Park School District Staff or District Partners. Among them were: A STEAM Escape Box Challenge, presented by partner HMH; Your Boost to Healthy Living, presented by Maida Lopez  on the effects of proper nutrition and exercise; the Green Screen in the Classroom, presented by Dacia DeAngelis, which taught ways to transform lessons using screen technology; Genesis Bar, presented by various district tech professionals who offer tips for using technology to enhance your craft; Google Virtual Reality Expedition, presented by HMH, which took attendees on a trip around the world using googles; Yoga, presented by KYDS; and the Beauty Bar, presented by Pooka Pure & Simple, which taught the art of creating your own beauty products using everyday ingredients. The breakout sessions were held in the afternoon and staff had the chance to attend three of their choosing.

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