Another Summer Institute is in the books! Once a year, all 200+ teachers come together for a day of training put on by Day Early Learning. This year’s theme was “Investing in your own Success!” Teachers earned six of their required 20 training hours, and were also able to enjoy networking and meeting teachers from other centers. We tried something new this year by offering tracks by age groups the teachers work with, ranging from infants to pre-k. Teachers spent the whole day in training sessions with their peers that work with the same age group of children, and they really enjoyed the specialized training. Teachers did everything from hone their observation skills in Observation training, to learn how to make butter in their classrooms in Science training.
Also new this year was a leadership track. Directors enjoyed engaging with other leaders, and spending the day together, learning new skills. One of our newer leaders reported, “I wanted to share with you how impressed I was at the level of training made available to staff at the Summer Institute. The commitment made by administrative/management staff to make this a positive experience for everyone attending was evident. I have been to a number of different organization-wide training events, but this had to have been one of the best I have seen since I began a career in early childhood.” Feedback like this gets us excited, and lets us know that we are doing something right. Quite frankly, we get excited about the opportunity for all of us to get better at what we do to serve the children and families of Central Indiana, and we want staff to know from Day 1 that we are serious about professional development.
Another new feature in 2015 was the annual distribution of awards for Years of Service, Educational Achievements, and Promotions moved from the Annual Meeting to Summer Institute, to allow teachers to be recognized in front of all their peers. This change really energized the crowd at lunch, and proved to be an awesome opportunity for peer recognition. Another first was our “Most Influential Teacher Award” as voted for by the teachers from each location. We had nine teachers recognized as the “Most Influential Teacher” at their site. It truly was a magical moment to watch these teachers react. These teachers also received gifts that were donated from local businesses including gift cards to local restaurants, theaters, and salons.
What really brought down the house this year was honoring Jesse McCloud, Center Director at State, and Jackie Williams, Asst. Director at IU Health West for their 35 years of service. Both plan to retire at the end of 2015, and received a standing ovation from the audience. Tears were rolling by the time Jesse was then awarded “Most Influential Administrator for 2015” another first. For this new award, the admin staff at all sites were invited to nominate and vote.
Ideas are already coming in for next year’s big event!
Thank you to our sponsors for supporting this event: Kroger, First Person, Lakeshore Learning, Kaplan Early Learning Company, and FoodSource.