Link Education Partners values continuing education and invests in teachers so be able deliver the best education to our Link scholars as possible. To fulfill its mission of providing professional development for staff at Link Community Charter School, LEP supports and encourages enrollment in Relay Graduate School of Education to earn teaching certifications and a Masters in the Arts of Teaching. In the past four years, 7 Link teachers have completed the program at Relay, with three of them earning their MAT to date. Currently, 4 teachers are participating in Relay’s programs, which are designed around the practices that, through evidence, have the most impact on student learning and development.
In addition, LEP sponsored a two-day Math Boot Camp for math teachers, special education teacher, and all 5th grade teachers to supply them with the direction and the tools to make the second year of Link’s Math Initiative more robust. In an effort to help students improve their knowledge and skills in math, Link launched the initiative in the fall of 2017 and, during the first year, determined that in the second year it would be important to increase the time each child spends in math each day and the number of teachers to deliver instruction. Boot Camp prepared the teachers for this year’s push and included an overview of curriculum, familiarization with the new online math program Eureka, and developing plans for parent involvement and resources for them. Time was set for planning, not only as an institution, but on grade levels.
LEP also funded the annual staff retreat and opening meetings before school started in September. The retreat encompassed a two-day, off-site program designed to foster team building and instill school culture. Under the guidance of instructors from Project U.S.E., a non-profit partner of the school, staff learned about each other and developed bonds through initiative games and challenges. Prior to the retreat, each staff member was assigned a book relevant to education or social justice and at the retreat held meaningful small group book discussions. Both before and after the retreat, staff engaged in five intensive days of opening meetings at the school, that provided training in school systems and expectations, discipline and school culture, curriculum, lesson planning, homework design, and much more.
And it goes on. This fall the instructional leaders/supervisors are attending three-day workshops in the teacher evaluation process system used at Link; science teachers will attend the NJ State Science Teachers Conference; and two English teachers have been accepted to the Readers and Writers Project Book Club Institute at Teachers College. Link’s staff continues to learn and grow and applies their knowledge and skill to ensuring an outstanding educational experience of each and every Link scholar.