Providence Day Fourth Grade teachers Leigh Cook, Louis Davidson, Ben Hovis, Holly Springer, and Jennifer Wilson have been named this year’s Gene and Rose Marie Bratek Professional Development Award recipients. This team of teachers will be using their professional development award to explore the North Carolina Outer Banks -- hopping from barrier island to barrier island, visiting the lighthouses of North Carolina, Wright Brothers’ Memorial, Jockey’s Ridge, The Lost Colony, and Roanoke Island.
With 62 years of combined experience at PD, the teaching team pursued this professional development award in order to enhance the fourth grade social studies curriculum -- the only year PD students will specifically learn about their home state. “We start the year talking about the geography of North Carolina so we talk about the Outer Banks all the time, but we have limited experience with the Outer Banks. Being able to travel from Morehead City up all the way to Currituck...just the experience of seeing all of that firsthand will be very helpful,” said Hovis. In addition to geography, the fourth-grade social studies curriculum includes units on North Carolina history, including the Wright Brothers and The Lost Colony, and a lighthouse project which require students to research and create a three-dimensional replica of an Outer Banks lighthouse.
“It’s one thing to see it in a book and it’s another for your teacher to say ‘I’ve been there and this is what we did’ and to bring pictures back for the classroom,” said Cook. The teachers are planning on creating a slideshow of pictures and videos to share with their students next fall as they begin their North Carolina studies. Davidson added: “This will also help our excitement level in the classroom. Students are more engaged when you are excited about what you are talking about.”
Established in 2007 with a generous gift from the PDS Parents' Association, the Gene and Rose Marie Bratek Professional Development Award endowment honors the couple's 21 years of dedicated service and leadership to Providence Day School. This award is given annually to enable Lower School teachers to take advantage of a professional development opportunity and bring the knowledge and experience gained back into the classroom.
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