PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — St. Maarten ASCD will be hosting its annual teachers’ conference on August 10th and 11th at the St. Dominic High School from 8am – to 1pm. The August 10th is for elementary teachers, and August 11th is for the secondary teachers. By having two days we ensure that we can accommodate our educators.
Each year the conference offers professional development sessions not only to educators locally and regionally, but it is also open to other interested persons within the community as well. Most of our presenters are locally based and are professionals within their respective fields. Our keynote speaker this year is Mrs. Tracelyn Hamilton from our neighboring island of Anguilla. Her keynote address promises to inspire our teachers as they prepare themselves for the new school year.
The theme for this year’s annual conference is ‘Creating A Positive Climate in Schools’. The workshops or sessions will provide an insight as to what areas can affect the learning environment of our students, which can either be positive, or one filled with negative experiences which ultimately affects the school climate.
Some of these sessions or workshops are from the standpoint of health, children’s rights; bullying, and knowing how to support our ESL (English as a second language) and foreign language learners as well as students with dyslexia. These sessions are being delivered by professionals in the area of education, linguistics, counseling, health, and by personnel from the various ministries of government and other organizations such as: the Youth Department, Student Support Service Division, Collective Preventative Services (CPS), Love of Kids Foundation, and P.M.I.A.
Other workshops are geared towards integrating and using technology in the classrooms. Technology has and will continue to influence the way our children learn and experience the world around them and it was important to have these workshops. Teachers are encouraged to have their smart phones at hand for the ITC sessions which are being presented by some members of the Digikidz Team, and some teachers of the Digikidz Schools, which are Hillside Christian School and the Seventh Day Adventist School.
In addition, there is a workshop on Comprehensive School Safety being delivered by personnel from the Department of Education and the Division of Inspection, who recently attended a training sponsored by UNESCO on this topic. They will discuss the importance of teachers planning and preparing themselves and their students’ safety at school, especially since safety is an important aspect of promoting a positive climate at school.
Overall, the conference promises to be rather enlightening and it is expected that the knowledge brought forward by the presenters will be applied in some way during the new school year 2015-2016 by the participants or educators.