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School District Hosts Professional Development Day



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While schools were closed for Election Day, Newtown’s teachers attended professional development, and a new effort this year led to donations for FAITH Food Pantry being collected and delivered.

Superintendent of Schools Dr Lorrie Rodrigue explained that for this year’s scheduled professional development day on Election Day, educators worked in their own buildings on different unique learning opportunities. For example, the lower grade level teachers focused on a math curriculum learning model and at the high school level educators worked with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator Wesley Johnson.

Dr Rodrigue said each of the professional development opportunities — which were overall coordinated by Assistant Superintendent of Schools Anne Uberti and the district’s Director of Teaching & Learning Frank Purcaro — “fit the goals for this year.”

The district’s Central Office staff spent the day prepping for upcoming budget meetings.

In an effort to celebrate the district’s educators, Dr Rodrigue said she spoke with a teacher forum and collaboratively decided to recognize teachers with a basket lottery that would also give back to the town.

“So we set up bins at every school and the central office, and we collected goods that morning,” said Dr Rodrigue.

Educators who brought donations for FAITH Food Pantry received entries for a drawing for baskets that Dr Rodrigue and Central Office staff filled by hand. The baskets were filled with “just fun little things,” such as candy, popcorn, scented candles, and more, according to the superintendent.

FAITH Food Pantry was thrilled with the donations, according to Dr Rodrigue, and “anecdotally, given the feedback [from educators] I think it was a very productive day.”

Dr Rodrigue also said she is glad district teachers had a day to focus on implementing efforts with a level of confidence and integrity.

Education Reporter Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

Baskets such as the one pictured were raffled off to teachers who donated to FAITH Food Pantry during a professional development day on November 2.
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