If you want proof that "where there's a will there's a way," look no further than this city's Scotsdale Elementary School, where fifteen teachers are on a mission to attend the National Conference on Differentiated Instruction in Las Vegas in July.
The annual conference is hosted by Staff Development for Educators (SDE), a New Hampshire-based professional development company serving pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educators nationwide. The National Conference on Differentiated Instruction is one of five national conferences hosted by SDE each summer.
"Each year, three to four thousand educators travel to Las Vegas to fill their toolboxes with a wide range of the most current and relevant, research-based strategies that they can apply immediately when they return to school," reports Kate Maggs, SDE's Program Planning Manager. "Our experts turn powerful theories into best practices. It's amazing to watch!"
In past years, educators from the 850-student Ysleta School District have been prohibited from attending professional development events in Las Vegas because it is a gaming town. So, teachers and administrators have attended SDE's Midwest Conference on Differentiated Instruction in Chicago, as well as state conferences in Texas.
"Teachers at Scotsdale Elementary love attending SDE trainings and always come out excited about what they've learned, and pumped to apply it in their classrooms," says Elena Buso, first-grade teacher.
In light of the district's ongoing success with SDE, educators have been given the green light to attend the national conference in Las Vegas in 2013. The only catch is that they will have to raise about $900 per teacher to contribute to the expense.
Undaunted, the fifteen determined teachers have been creating and running fundraising activities since August. They started with cleaning out their own homes and garages and holding rummage sales. They have been selling Sonic, Krispy Kreme Donuts, and Chucky Cheese gift cards, pencils, candles, and balloon bouquets. They've partnered with local restaurants to raise funds. They've even offered Easter pictures with the Easter Bunny. And they put on talent shows, choosing the top 20 acts from tryouts, bringing in judges from the community, and selling tickets to the events. Everything they do is advertised on their marquee for everyone in town to see.
To date, the group has raised just under $3,000 of their $13,500 goal.
SDE provides professional development for preK through grade 12 educators. Through Onsite PD, PD Events, Web-based PD, and PD Resources, the company empowers teachers and administrators across the country with ongoing professional development that is not only research-based, innovative, and rigorous, but also practical, motivating, and fun. All SDE training is presented by the nation's top authors and educational experts, with the goal of creating extraordinary classrooms that prepare students for the evolving demands of the 21st century.
Educators interested in learning more about SDE's national conferences and the many other professional development opportunities offered by SDE can visit the company's website, www.SDE.com, or call 1-800-462-1478.