NJEA Summer Professional Learning InstituteFor educators, summer is a time to relax, reflect, and develop new ideas before the next school year begins. This year, educators will have the opportunity to do all three at the NJEA Summer Professional Learning Institute.

The institute comprises four full days, each focusing on a single topic. This year’s theme will have an emphasis on rethinking practice to meet the rigors of Common Core and PARCC. Participants can pick and choose from the four days, determining their participation based on their own individual needs.

The goal of the institute is for educators to experience how collaborative communities of educators can transform teaching and learning. Each program is designed by educators who have pooled their talents to bring you innovative instructional practices. And you have the opportunity to weigh in with your own ideas. Collaboration will be embedded through the day to allow participants to share their own thoughts and experiences, as well as to reflect on how the knowledge and skills of other educators can inform their own practice.

The summer institute will take place at the National Conference Center at the Holiday Inn of East Windsor, New Jersey. Come and collaborate with other members. Each day of the institute will start with registration and breakfast from 8-9:30 a.m., program from 9:30-noon, break for lunch from 12–1 p.m., and then the continuation of the program from 1–3:30 p.m.

The cost is $25 per participant per day with an early bird discount of $15 if paid by April 30.


The registration deadline is June 15. Use this registration form or register online.

NJEA Summer Learning InstituteTuesday, July 8 – Common Core and PARCC: What’s it All About
Target audience:
all grade levels

Why the emphasis on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? How does PARCC fit in? The CCSS require fundamental shifts in the way teachers teach, the way students learn and are assessed, and the way leaders lead. Every educator working to meet the CCSS’s demanding requirements—and the upcoming PARCC assessments—will recognize that they have to apply significantly different educational strategies and resources.

Learn about the major instructional shifts in English language arts/literacy and mathematics that are designed to help students achieve college and career readiness and the PARCC assessments that are aligned to the standards.

Presenters: Dr. Amy Fratz and Pam Garwood, NJEA associate directors, professional development and instructional issues, have extensive experience assisting members in implementing the CCSS and providing up-to-date resources for the PARCC assessments.

Garwood is the co-creator and coordinator of the NJEA Priority Schools Initiative. Prior to her current position, she was a 23-year veteran elementary classroom teacher, a seven-year teaching and learning facilitator in an Abbott school, and a demonstration facilitator for the National Paideia Organization.

Thursday, July 10 – A Bird’s Eye View of Problem-Based Learning
Target audience:
grades K-12, ELL

In this full-day session participants will dissect the process of problem/project-based learning (PBL). Attendess will have the opportunity to begin building a PBL for their students that includes the Common Core and other principles that are important across curricula and PARCC assessments such as creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration. Join us for a day of building with an elementary, ELL and high school teacher. This workshop is BYOT (bring your own technology).

Presenters: Diana Potts is a 4-6th-grade social studies teacher at Lambertville Public School. She is also a professional development and instructional issues consultant for NJEA and on the planning team for EdCamp STEAM. She holds a Masters in instructional technology and has recently presented at national and local conferences on problem based learning. 

Matthew Stagliano has been working for the past five years in the English department at Camden County Technical Schools and for the past two years as a professional development and instructional issues consultant for NJEA. He is a teacher of English who loves to be involved with his school, the local association, and professional development around the state. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in English education. Currently, he is working towards his Master’s degree in instructional technology at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.    

Daniel Scibienski teaches English language learners in grades 6-8 for the Princeton Public Schools. He has helped organize EdcampNJ, EdcampSTEAM and St. Hacktrick’s Day (an educational hackathon). In addition, Scibienski owns a consulting business that helps schools and organizations build effective language learning programs. He is also a master trainer for Literacy Volunteers of NJ.

Tuesday, July 15 – Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum
Target audience:
grades K-12

The Common Core standards are encouraging teachers to engage students in close reading.  Many discussions of close reading have emphasized what teachers should not do without sharing the strategies teachers should be using. Close reading is a way of analyzing a text that involves careful attention to a short passage or poem. When you conduct a close reading, you focus on a specific section of text and explain how language is used and/or how an author builds an argument. This attention to detail allows you to assess and discuss the larger themes or concerns of the text as a whole. In this workshop, participants will learn the meaning of close reading, how to do a close reading and how to create questions to use with the reading piece to teach to any literacy CCSS.

Presenter: Pam Garwood, NJEA associate director of professional development and instructional issues. She is the co-creator and coordinator of the NJEA Priority Schools Initiative. Prior to her current position, she was a 23-year veteran elementary classroom teacher, a seven-year teaching and learning facilitator in an Abbott school, and a demonstration facilitator for the National Paideia Organization.

Thursday, July 17 – Grading for Learning: Using Standards-Based Grading to Inform Teaching around the Common Core
Target audience:
grades K-12

This interactive workshop will help you develop a working understanding of the standards-based grading continuum. Participants will examine the use of alternative assessment practices and how they relate to state, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards. Attendees will explore the use of homework, alternative assessments, re-takes, and re-dos as tools to increase student learning. Ways to gain support from your administration and find time to develop and implement your plan will be discussed. 

Presenter: Dr. Luann Lee is a National Board Certified teacher of biology and chemistry at Newberg High School in Oregon. She has also taught undergraduate and graduate students at both Wright State and Ball State Universities. Having achieved National Board Certification in Adolescent and Young Adult Science in 1998, renewed in 2007 and serving as a facilitator for both initial and renewal candidates, she is a strong advocate for effective educational practices. Lee is also an organizer of Edcamp PDX. She holds an Ed.D. in Science Education from Ball State University, an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction from Wright State University, and a B.S. in Animal Science from Ohio State University.