Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Revenge of the Nerds

NERD Blvd!
Network-wide Professional Development is about collaborating to hone our skills as educators and administrators and prepare for the coming year, and FirstLine teachers and staff took it a step further this year when they came together for “Revenge of the Nerds”. Faculty from all five schools (and the central office) arrived at the Arthur Ashe campus bright and early this past Monday morning (August 5), full of enthusiasm. With some in goofy glasses, some in suspenders, and some with colorful socks, it was clear that they'd embraced the theme (“Revenge of the Nerds”), and the majority wore tee shirts that declared their pride for their respective schools.

Clark Prep's staff all nerded out and ready for 2013-14!
After exchanging greetings over a healthy breakfast buffet, the enthusiastic participants filtered into the gym, where a lively “pep rally” set the tone for the day. Kelly (ESYNOLA's Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator) kicked things off by applauding the days theme, and contemplating how we redefine and celebrate “nerdiness” in our schools. She made a point of recognizing the nerdiness of enthusiasm and engagement and passion: applicable to any subject, invaluable to any pursuit, and evident all around her. A trumpet sounded from the Green section. Two teachers in Clark led their colleagues in a Bulldog chant resurrected from the 1970’s, a rallying cry with which they tapped into the history and legacy of their school. (B-U-L-L-D-O-G-S!)

This abounding energy was then ignited with a relay race in which participants balanced books on their heads  and answered trivia questions while their colleagues cheered from the stands (LHA led the way, winning the relay race). An inspiring speech from CEO Jay Altman then channeled the energy of the athletic interlude, to unite the gym once more around the FirstLine mission.

Green's Staff - loving Pi and ready for a new year
Charged with the excitement of the rally and infused with a sense of purpose, the FirstLine “nerds” left the pep rally ready to make the most of the day. Teachers from all five schools met with others at their grade level (or by subject area), to collaborate around the launch of this year’s revamped curriculum (tied to our transition to the Common Core). Other sessions addressed a wide array of topics, ranging from Crisis prevention to Interventionalist and CY training, to Assistive Technology. With such abundant opportunities to “nerd out,” the day was a great success!

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