The day before 41,000 Sweetwater District students filled the halls and classrooms of their schools after winter break, nearly 2,000 district teachers, administrators and counselors gathered for a professional development in-service, also known as SweetPD17.
The first of its kind, held at San Ysidro High School, Sweetwater Superintendent Dr. Karen Janney called the event a purposeful collaboration designed by teachers for teachers and staff showed district spirit by wearing their “Putting Students First” t-shirts.
“Today is a powerful learning opportunity I hope we all take advantage of, to continue to build and expand ourselves to meet the needs of our students,” said Dr. Janney.
The morning began with a keynote address from Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade author of “Roses in the Concrete” and a 21-year Oakland Public School teacher. Duncan-Andrade is no stranger to Sweetwater District staff and personnel. His charismatic keynote included feedback on the districts mantra “Putting Students First”. “I believe by Putting Students First you first have to put your most vulnerable students first, “said Duncan-Andrade. “The real measure of the quality of a classroom, school or district is how you are able to put your most vulnerable students first and see them succeed.”
The SweetPD17 conference provided teachers, administrators and counselors with quality sessions one would find at a regional or national conference. According to Superintendent Janney, “the expertise is here in our own backyard, and together we can share this know knowledge.”
Nearly 70 breakout sessions were offered to district staff to attend after Duncan-Andrade’s keynote session.Presenters for the conference include Sweetwater teachers, college professors, and industry professionals who shared lessons, strategies, and structures found to be successful. Dr. Fulcher, Assistant Superintendent of Equity, Culture and Support Services hosted a session on “The initial steps of our new and collaborative Equity Walk: If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” Dr. Joseph Johnson, from the National Center for Urban School Transformation hosted a session on Quality First Instruction. And Castle Park High Schools Social Justice Club students led a session on “Breaking the Silence” Supporting LGBT students, families and staff.
“The SweetPD17 conference provided teachers, administrators and counselors with quality sessions one would find at a regional or national conference,” said Superintendent Janney. ‘The expertise is here in our own backyard, and together we can share this know knowledge.”
“Every policy and every practice has to be good for the kids that need us the most. Then we are really on an equity move,” said Duncan-Andrade. “Programs don’t work, people work.”