District 196 teachers engage in conversation during a recent professional development course at Summer Institute.

Summer may be in full swing, but learning doesn’t stop in District 196.

In June, district educators kicked off the Summer Institute, a 16-day professional development camp hosted at Eagan High School and Dakota Hills Middle School. Teachers can attend sessions of choice taught by other teachers that deepen their understanding of a wide variety of subjects and skills. The sessions also give teachers opportunities to connect and collaborate with their colleagues.

Director of Teaching and Learning Steve Troen said the district regularly offers educators professional development opportunities, but the Summer Institute is a chance for teachers to participate without taking away from classroom time.

“One hallmark of this institute is the sessions are created and presented by our staff, for our staff” Troen said. “Our teacher-leaders, coordinators, instructional coaches and administrators submitted proposals and designed these sessions with our teachers in mind.”

Some of the topics include coding and technology literacy, guided reading and collaborative learning. Teachers can also attend sessions that explore more social-emotional topics such as proactive behavior strategies, helping children navigate trauma, and special education and other learning needs.

The first sessions were held in June and additional sessions will be offered in July and August. With this being the first year of Summer Institute, Troen said the district is soliciting feedback from participants about ways to expand in the future.

“As educators, we want our students to be lifelong learners,” he added. “Professional development opportunities help us impact student achievement and growth in the classroom, and in order to do that, we too must be lifelong learners.”

Summer Institute

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