Arizona GEAR UP is dedicated to educational equity for all students in Arizona. We want to make sure that every student has access to quality education. The same goes for our teachers and educators. With the help of the Arizona K12 Center, AZGU is able to offer teachers throughout the state professional development to help support and provide new approaches to teaching.
“A teacher, regardless of location, should have access to high-quality professional development to make an impact on student learning,” AZ K12 Center’s Donnie Dicus said.
Donnie Dicus is the Professional Learning Director at the Arizona K12 Center and specializes in designing the content for the professional development courses. Donnie also works with teachers as they progress through the lessons.
The Arizona K12 Center offers a range of professional development from National Board Certification classes to seminars on how to equip yourself better to advocate for students. With the collaboration of the K12 Center, Northern Arizona University, and Arizona GEAR UP, teachers at GEAR UP schools can attend these classes free of charge.
As part of the GEAR UP Federal Grant, one goal is to increase student’s performance in math. The Arizona K-12 Center focused in on this goal and created the GEAR UP Math Institute.
Traditionally, the Math Institute is an in-person event offered every Summer, but they shifted the workshop online due to the Pandemic. The multi-day seminar specializes in pre-algebra and algebra instruction for middle and high school teachers.
Throughout the course, educators learn how to use data to identify students’ needs and different strategies to meet students where they are.
One aspect of the event that the Arizona K12 Center focuses on is the importance of reflection.
“We design professional learning to include an opportunity at the end of the session to reflect on what they’ve learned and begin to craft plans on how they could implement it,” Donnie said.
As far as the next steps go for the K12 Center, they are planning to host the 2022 Summer Math Institute in person. For updates, visit the Arizona K12 Center.