Hilliard Northwest News

Annual Summer Academy

Local teachers back in school for three weeks

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While classes are out for the approximately 15,000 students in Hilliard City Schools, many of the district's classroom teachers are back in school from June 9-27.

They are enrolled in the district's Summer Academy to earn continuing-education units, which the Ohio Department of Education requires for teachers to maintain their licenses.

The Ohio Department of Education requires teachers to earn 18 CEUs every five years to maintain a teaching certificate, said Tim Hart, director of professional learning for Hilliard City Schools.

Thus, Hilliard has offered the Summer Academy for the past 12 years, not as a requirement, but as one of several ways teachers can accrue CEUs to renew their licenses.

Serving on a district committee, helping with curriculum revision and enrolling in college courses for advanced degrees are other means by which a teacher can obtain CEUs, Hart said.

The academy offers more than just CEUs, Hart said.

"In almost all instances, our academy is being led by another Hilliard teacher, so we offer the advantage of our own teachers helping colleagues become better teachers," Hart said.

Visiting teachers from other districts, staff from the Ohio Department of Education or guest professionals from private companies also instruct classes, Hart said.

Classes are offered in three-hour or six-hour blocks, Monday through Thursday.

One clock hour at the Summer Academy is equivalent to one-tenth of one CEU.

This year's academy has 127 classes. In addition to academic subjects, classes deal with drug and alcohol awareness in the workplace, Google apps for education and working with autistic students.

Among the instructors at this year's Summer Academy is Liz Deskins, the media specialist at Bradley High School.

This week, she taught a class called "Y.A. Literature: Book Share."

Deskins taught about the latest published works in young adult literature and how specific books might be used to build character in students or address specific societal problems.

Her morning sessions included a review of selections and afternoon sessions provided teachers the opportunity to write.

"It's not necessarily to work on getting published, but rather to do something all English teachers probably like to do," Deskins said.

Among the tiles under discussion is a fictional book, 13 Reasons Why, an account of an adolescent girl who commits suicide but first records cassette tapes and mails them to 13 individuals whom she says were a factor in her decision.

"It has a message," Deskins said.

Deskins had many students who asked her about that particular book last school year.

"I had boys who weren't the reading kind coming into the library and asking for a copy, so I know it was getting talked up (by the students)," Deskins said.

Among the teachers enrolled in the Summer Academy is Stephanie Grieble, an English Language Learner instructor at Darby High School.

"Choosing the right book is essential in making children want to learn to read," said Grieble, whose ELL students represent a broad range of reading levels and skills.

"The key is to find a book they want to read and develop that love for reading," Grieble said.

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