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Professional Development Resources

 2016-17 Leaders of Learning Academy

The Leaders of Learning Academy was established to provide a forum in which educators could come together to share knowledge, hone skills and refine professional practice in ways that are meaningful, engaging and support the district's mission of graduating all students career and college ready. Registration is open to all district employees as well as educators from neighboring districts. Mt. Olive employees will receive 1 ½ professional development hours for participation in each session.

Registration Information

In-District: Sign up on My Learning Plan or send an email to jregina@mtoliveboe.org indicating the workshop/s you want to register for at least one week prior to the workshop's start date.

Participant's fee is $50 per workshop. Please send an email to jregina@mtoliveboe.org indicating the workshop/s you want to attend. Mail checks to the following address made payable to Mt. Olive Board of Education:  Mount Olive Board of Education c/o Dr. Tracey Severns, 227 Route 206, Flanders, NJ   07836.

Course Offerings

Changing the Narrative: Evidence. Action. Impact.

Date: October 25, 2016

Time:  4:00PM—5:30PM

Facilitator:  Nicole Musarra, Sandshore School Principal

Location:  Sandshore School Library

How do we build student confidence?  Let’s start by changing our conversations from teaching to learning.  This session focuses on practices that educators can use to build student confidence in themselves as learners and in their learning.  Based on John Hattie’s research, and practices successfully implemented in schools, this session will focus on Assessment Capable Learners and provide you with approaches educators can take to powerfully influence student learning in your classroom.  We will explore the three fundamental concepts of Building Knowledge, Making Meaning, and Applying Understanding.  Participants will gain strategies to create an action plan to turn students into Assessment Capable Learners who will have the ability to lead their own learning by becoming engaged, empowered, and ready to achieve high standards.


Growth Mindset

Date:  November 1, 2016

Time:  4:00PM –5:30PM

Facilitators:   Jen Olsyn, Instructional Supervisor and Emily Cali, 3 grade

                        teacher at Mt. View School

Location:  Mt. View School Library


Based on the research of Carol Dweck, growth mindset is a simple idea that makes all the difference. During this workshop, participants will learn the difference between a fixed mindset and growth mindset, and the importance for teachers and students to change their words. Growth Mindset strongly emphasizes process over perfection. And what’s the best way to tell

whether you have a growth mindset? You still consider yourself a work in progress.  Classroom activities and discussion starters will be presented that can be used immediately in your own classroom with those students who feel that they are “awesome” at something to those that feel they “can’t do” anything. Growth Mindset will make the difference!


Learning Intentions and Success Criteria in 6 Simple Steps

Date: November 3, 2016

Time:  4:00PM—5:30PM

Facilitators:  Melissa Kolenski and Jen Curry, Instructional Supervisors

LocationTinc Road School Library


When students know the learning intentions of a lesson they can focus on the purpose of the activity, know where to focus their efforts, are more likely to remain on task, and can take more personal responsibility for their learning.  Students need to be able to answer four basic questions:  Where am I going?  How will get there? Why am I going there?  How do I know that I’ve arrived?  Learning Intentions and Success Criteria provide students with the road map for their destination.


It’s NEVER too Early!

Date:  November 15, 2016

Time:  4:00PM—5:30PM

Facilitator:  Patricia Mitchell and Lori Vaccaro,

4th & 5th Grade Teachers

Location:  Sandshore School Library


This session will begin with an examination of the traditional mindsets in education then flow through a series of steps that facilitate a Visible Learning environment in the classroom. Participants will be engaged in best practice activities to help incorporate Visible Learning into their classrooms including facilitation of goal setting, promotion of  Visible Learning language among students, providing and receiving a variety of feedback, pairing learning intentions with success criteria, and considering alternatives to traditional grading practices. Participants will walk away with a clearer understanding of what the visible learning framework is and how it relates to the classroom.


Making Thinking Visible:  How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and Independence for All Learners

Date: November 17, 2016

Time:  4:00PM—5:30PM        

Facilitator:  Dr. Tracey Severns, Director of Student Performance

Location:  Board of Education Office, 1st floor

Your students may know what to do, but do they know how to think?  During this workshop, participants will learn high-leverage thinking strategies that can be used to create a positive, lively, thought-filled classroom.  The sessions will include opportunities to practice and apply techniques for introducing and exploring ideas, synthesizing and organizing ideas, and digging deeper into ideas.  Participants will also learn how curiosity and questioning can be used to elevate engagement and deepen understanding.  These strategies can be learned one day and used the next.  Don’t miss it! 


Measuring One’s Impact on Student Learning

Date:  November 29, 2016

Time:  4:00PM—5:30PM

Facilitator:  Nicole Musarra, Sandshore School Principal

Location:  Sandshore School Library


Do our current actions support or inhibit helping students from developing assessment capabilities?  How can we foster student resilience and perseverance?  This workshop will investigate grading systems and focus on practices that produce positive results.  Recognizing effective grading and feedback actions that promote increased student assessment capability are linked to certain visible learning mind frames.  Together we will look closely at our own impact on student learning and focus on assessment as being the prominent feature of the classroom.


Positive Teacher/Student Relationships

Date:  December 1, 2016

Time:  4:00PM—5:30PM

Facilitator:  Susan Miranda, Principal, Mt. Olive Middle School

Location: Mt. Olive Middle School, Room C-132


From beginning to end, start to finish, or entry to exit, students should know the expectations of each unique learning environment.  Sessions will focus on maximizing student-teacher relationships to create a positive learning environment.  The second area will focus on analyzing assessments for curricular and standards alignment and maximizing academic feedback to improve student learning.



Date:  December 13, 2016

Time:  4:00PM—5:30PM

Facilitator:  Dr. Tracey Severns, Director of Student Performance

Location:  Board of Education Office, 1st floor


You’ve read about them.  You’ve heard people talk about them.  Now you can experience one right here in Mt. Olive!  EdCamps are participant-driven learning opportunities in which the breakout sessions are determined and facilitated by the educators attending the event.   This innovative format is predicated upon the belief that “fellow educators can be some of the most valuable professional development resources for their colleagues” (Edcamp.org).  We will begin this “un-conference” by asking participants to identify topics they would like to share, discuss or learn more about.   Discussion groups will then be formed based on the interests of the individuals in the room.  For the remainder of the session, participants will move freely among groups to join conversations that they find meaningful and relevant to their needs.


Book Walk Talk

Date:  January 25, 2017

Time:  4:00pm—5:30pm

Facilitator:  Dr. Tracey Severns, Director of Student Performance

Location:  Board of Education Office, 1st floor


The idea for this session came from a teacher who asked if I would be willing to talk with her about my “friends” (the books I brought to my professional development workshop) because she was looking for a good book to read and wasn’t sure which one to select.  As someone who has benefitted greatly from excellent recommendations for outstanding books, I thought this was a fantastic idea.  During this never-done-before (at least not by me!) session, I will bring some of my best “friends” and “walk” participants through a discussion of what I believe makes each of them special.  Excerpts from several texts will be used to provide samples of what the authors have to offer. 


Student-Led Discussions

Date:  February 15, 2017

Time:  4:00PM—5:30PM

Facilitators:  Dr. Tracey Severns, Director of Student Performance

Location:  Board of Education Office, 1st floor


If you want to know whether you are engaging students in a true discussion, draw the interactions among (or between) participants.  If the resulting picture looks like spokes of a wheel emanating from a hub (the teacher), then you are not quite there.  During this highly interactive session, participants will learn a variety of techniques that can be used to spark and sustain student-led discourse and debate.  This workshop will encompass strategies for teachers of all grades. 

Standards Resources

Video for the Common Core State Standards

Recommended Reading for the Common Core
Common Core for Mathematics
Common Core for ELA
The New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards

PARCC Resources:

The PARCC website
Prototype Problems

Technology Resources:

Using Adaptive Technology Programs

Recommended Reading:

Mindsets by Carol Dweck
Summer Reading for Teachers

Resource Downloads

Mentoring Contract Download
Mt. Olive Board of Education
227 US Highway 206, Suite 10
Flanders, New Jersey 07836
Questions or Feedback click here
Phone: 973.691.4000 Fax: 973.691.4022

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