Summer is known as a time for teachers to rest and relax, to take a break from the classroom and their daily routines. And while Valley teachers did take time to rejuvenate, a number of them also took advantage of the change in schedule and routine to actually dive deeper into their subject areas, taking classes or participating in educational experiences. A few of these are described in more detail below.

Topic: Expanding Horizons

  • Mrs. Jennifer Blake explored the world of Cinematography, working with 12 classmates to film and edit audio and video for the Marketing Department at Lansing Community College. Mrs. Blake’s excitement and passion for film rubs off in various places around Valley – from video production to the yearbook to 2020’s fall play-turned-movie! Thanks to this class Mrs. Blake not only has more experience under her belt but also a great network of connections and support.

  • Miss Karla Stahlecker spent a week at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee immersed in ceramics creation. Unique to her experience was the use of a wood fired kiln and reduction firing, where, once the firing hits the correct temperature, all the kiln entrances are sealed to reduce the oxygen. This type of firing produces glossy surfaces on the pieces. Next time you’re at Valley be sure to check out her creations in the display case outside the Art studio! (Miss Stahlecker’s workshop was underwritten by the Bev Feldkamp Faculty Fellowship Fund which supports professional development opportunities for teachers.)

Topic: Technology Teaching and Learning

  • Dr. Lisa Meyers, Academic Dean attended the annual training for her role as a TEC21 Facilitator. As a facilitator, she leads year-long workshops on authentic technology integration in the classroom with area grade school teachers. Thanks Dr. Meyers for your leadership in this area!
  • Mr. Kevin Streeter attended a workshop on teaching computer science through Harvard. Growing his personal knowledge of new philosophies in computer science education, Mr. Streeter now has greater understanding and a wider professional network to draw on as he continues to expand Valley’s computer science program.
  • Mrs. Barb Doyle and Mrs. Missy Cruz explored new mathematical labs with the TI-Nspire graphing calculators during a workshop highlighting TI’s new “Building Concepts” activities. Not only do these lab activities provide students a different method for exploring mathematical concepts, they also help students achieve a greater understanding and depth of knowledge.

Topic: Coaches Training

  • Mrs. Jessica Schwarz attended MSU’s Summer Coaches’ School. The theme this year was promoting positive development in athletes both mentally and physically. We’re excited for Mrs. Schwarz to bring home what she learned to our athletes!

Topic: Subject Area Intensives

  • Mrs. Renee Brenner served as a reader (grader) for the AP Spanish Language and Culture exams. While it was her sixth year participating it remained a great professional development as she immersed herself in the content of the course and networked with those who create and train others on the exam.
  • Mr. Ben Cooper attended a week-long conference on AP Biology teaching. Between insightful discussions, new shared activities, and intensive lab work, Mr. Cooper returned with a greater understanding of the course framework and philosophy, and a renewed passion for the course!

Topic: Leadership

Mrs. Becca Sugden attended the FLAME (Future Lutheran Administrators – Midwest Educators) conference, which was led by the Education Executives from 6 surrounding LC-MS districts. Her takeaways? That our Lutheran schools are so supported by our Districts – they are there to see us succeed! Also, the future looks good for our Lutheran schools!

Various activities across a diverse set of topics – but all serving to grow our teachers. Teacher growth, which in turn directly provides a greater experience for all VL students. Teachers – we are grateful for you!