We welcomed the Arkansas Teacher Corps family to our last All Corps of the school year on Saturday, April 2nd! This day was focused around the values of joy and appreciation! We focused on these values based on feedback from our teachers that they were having difficulty reflecting on this difficult school year in a productive manner.
We kicked-off the day with updates from both the Arkansas Academy of Educational Equity and the Teach Plus Arkansas Fellowship. These are both programs in which we currently have fellows or alumni participating. Some of these fellows were able to share their learnings from the programs with the rest of our corps. Next, we reflected on moments of joy and challenge since we last met in February, played weird ATC trivia, celebrated birthdays, and then set intentions for the rest of the day. These morning sessions have had a huge impact on our fellows feeling connected to each other: on our end-of-day surveys, fellows reported an increase in feeling connected to other fellows to an average rating of 4.50 out of 5.00.
Fellows then moved into content time after our welcome team-building. During this time, fellows work in small groups to learn pedagogical strategies and and explore curricular resources specific to their content area. This content time has continued to provide extremely helpful sessions for our fellows. We have seen huge changes in fellows’ classrooms tied to the outcomes of these sessions and fellows rated the sessions an average of 4.70 out of 5.00 for providing something concrete that they can take back to their classroom.
After lunch, fellows participated in a session that was designed to help them process their wins and losses from the year and focus on appreciation for others who have helped get them through the year. There is a lot of brain research that says people who are able to show appreciation are more likely to reach their goals. We combined this time with having fellows do a final review of their classroom visions to make sure that they are on the right path to reach the goals they set for their students and themselves at the beginning of the year. Fellows rated this session an average of 4.70 out of 5.00 for both questions, “Our equity session helped me process wins and losses from this year” and “I am clear on what my vision for the end of the school year is.”
Finally, we wrapped up our day of professional development with announcements and an introduction to our new portal system. Overall the day was a success with fellows giving an average 4.65 out of 5.00 to the question, “Today was beneficial to my development as a teacher and a fellow.” This was the highest-rated PD of the year!