October 21st is the Provincial Professional Development Day for BC’s teachers. There are traditionally many workshops, conferences and opportunities for professional learning throughout the province. For example, there are a number of Provincial Specialist Association events planned for the Friday. A full list of all them can be found here: Brochure

Here in the Gulf Islands we also have a number of professional learning opportunities offered on Salt Spring. SET BC – an organization that works with school districts in providing and building capacity using technology to support the diverse needs of students – is offering a workshop on a program that provides a number of literacy supports such as speech-to-text and text-to-speech on various devices. Our own Bryce Woollcombe (teaching at our middle school) will start the morning off with a workshop on Google Classroom.

The Salt Spring Island Local Action team is organizing a workshop on Crisis Response for School District 64 with the High Risk Services Team, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team.

Two of our amazing retired teachers are also offering a full-day workshop. Barb Aust and Christa Campsall will be presenting on their recent publications: The Essential Curriculum by Barb Aust and My Guide Inside by Christa Campsall and Jane Tucker.

Thank you to Jessica Willows, Professional Development Chair for the Gulf Islands Teachers Association, for sharing this information.

I also posed a couple of questions to Jess about the role that professional development plays.

DL: What role do professional development (ProD) days play in the lives of Gulf Islands teachers?

Jessica: ProD Days are very important days throughout the school year for Gulf Islands teachers. These are days where teachers are working on strengthening their instructional practices, learning about new teaching programs and philosophies and connecting and collaborating with colleagues. This last item is very important in our school district archipelago and ensures that we are working as a team and also connecting with our students.

DL: How does this impact student learning?

Jessica: This means that students are engaging with inspired, enthusiastic teachers who have been questioning and refining their classroom practices. This all has a huge impact on student learning!

— Doug Livingston
Director of Instruction, Learning Services