Some 550 northeast Iowa educators will spend today in school — as students. The University of Northern Iowa’s Price Lab School is hosting the teachers as part of Professional Development Day. Bridgette Wagoner, instructor and outreach coordinator at the lab school, says two focal points of the day will be rigor and relevance.
Wagoner says: "Rigor is all about higher-order thinking and making sure that the activities we have students engaged in our classrooms push them beyond the low levels of thinking and up into the higher levels of thinking. Relevance is all about making sure that students experience the essential skills and concepts we’re trying to get through to them in a way that shows them they have value beyond the four walls of our classrooms."
While this is a day off for thousands of students in the region, Wagoner says it’ll be a long day of hard work for the teachers. "Every school in the state provides professional development for their teachers and there are a variety of ways to go about that, but as a laboratory school, one of our missions is to advance teaching across the state and one of the things we do is attempt to provide meaningful professional development for teachers across the state," Wagoner says.
This is the U.N.I. school’s first attempt at this sort of event, bringing in such a large group of teachers. She says it’s the result of the brainstorm of a group of superintendents, principals and teachers from the North Iowa Cedar League Conference.
Wagoner says: "They got together and decided they wanted to provide a day that would give an opportunity for all of their teachers to get together and learn together. What we’re doing is providing the structure and the place and the sessions to make that happen." The day’s sessions will be divided between elementary and middle/high school sections.