The Center for School Improvement and Professional Development at Orleans/Niagara BOCES recently held an event at the BOCES' Conference Center. It was called the Leaders in Literacy Conference and featured five presenters who are the top in their field.
Presenters included: Dr. Jeanne Tribuzzi who works with schools, both nationally and internationally, to help them articulate and align their literacy curriculum; Taryn Vanderburg, who is a staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Colombia University; Dee Kloss, who is a literacy consultant specializing in providing ongoing, differentiated professional development to independent and public schools; Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who is the author of several children's books, including "Every Day Birds (Scholastic)," "With My Hands (Clarion)" and "Poems Are Teachers: How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres (Heinemann);" Antoinette DiBellonia, reading recovery specialist at Orleans/Niagara BOCES; and Mike Fisher, who is a former teacher and now an author and instructional coach in Orleans/Niagara BOCES.
Many area school districts buy into the Orleans/Niagara BOCES Professional Development service, and when Fisher was talking to Tribuzzi, they decided it might be a good way to kick off the school year with a shared event where they could invite all the school districts to participate.
"We were able to get a lot of top notch people who were willing to present and we thought it would be a great way to share their expertise with our clients," said Fisher. "We had over 100 people attend from almost all of our 13 districts, plus participants from Depew, Grand Island, Elma and West Seneca. The feedback we got was overwhelmingly positive."
The school district professionals loved the breakout sessions such as "Shared Reading to Support Emergent Readers," "Studying Poetry to Strengthen Writing in all Areas," "Grading, Assessment and Reporting in a Reading and Writing Workshop," "Keep it Simple: A Practical Approach to Small Group Reading Instruction," and "Using Digital Tools to Enhance Reading and Writing." They also enjoyed bonding with their fellow attendees under the BOCES center's new pavilion and sampling the food trucks - Lloyd's Tacos and the Great Foodini.
"I can't thank the staff enough at Orleans/Niagara BOCES who helped to make the day such a huge success," said Fisher.