Professional Development: Teachers as the Backbone of Education

By: Sr. Bernadette McManigal

An exhibitor gives an interactive demonstration to a teacher at the Diocesan Education Institute.

On Friday, Oct. 22, the Office of Catholic Schools hosted the annual Diocesan Education Institute. Approximately 1,400 teachers and principals came from all corners of the diocese for a day of professional development.

This year’s gregarious keynote speaker, John Antonetti, was well-received. Mr. Antonetti focused on engaging students in the classroom: on the elementary level, he spoke about engaging the whole child and at the high school level he spoke about the importance of writing for student achievement.

His morning talk with the elementary faculty was so successful that some returned in the afternoon to hear what he had to say to the high school teachers. Principal of St. Luke School, Renee White, said, “He was able to connect with everyone. Everyone could identify with some part of what he was trying to say. He did it in a humorous way, but it was still so valuable. I have not spoken to one person that did not enjoy his presentation.” Fifty-one general sessions were also offered to teachers and principals.

A wide range of topics were covered by local speakers to provide teachers and principals with the support and encouragement they need. Exhibitors from around the country were also present, showcasing the newest technology, textbooks and classroom materials. Teachers and principals were able to browse and research new ideas for their classrooms and schools.

This year, for the first time, 16 exhibitors also gave lunch time presentations to interested parties. The highlight of the event was Mass celebrated by Bishop Paul S. Loverde. In the Office of Catholic Schools, we always appreciate the time Bishop Loverde gives to the Diocesan Education Institute and our school faculty and staff. I am proud that the Office of Catholic Schools is able to offer this day of professional development to our teachers and administrators. They are the backbone of the educational system, and their success and continued learning experience means the success of our students.

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