This year, we have 5 required Professional Development days. Today was one of those days. Instead of sitting in a room being lectured all day, we spent our day in the community around our school. Every member of our staff loaded up on two buses and we set off to explore. If any of you watched 60 minutes last night, the town where I teach was featured. We started out by visiting the museum that used to be the town bank. There was a lot of interesting history in that tiny museum. From there, we visited with the mayor and listened to plans they have in the works to revitalize the town. We also found out that we are a part of NCSTEP which is a grant program to revitalize "dying" towns. It all sounds very promising. We also visited a few businesses that are doing quite well... the 60 minutes report made it seem like the ENTIRE town was living in complete poverty.
Trailer Park from Google Earth
A picture I found online
of the trailer park.
From there, we visited the trailer park where the majority of our students live. That was an eye-opening experience. When we first pulled in, there were kids playing in the streets, but they disappeared after seeing school buses. :) This is not an area I would EVER go alone, but it was nice getting to see where my students live. I was even able to see students from last year that are at the middle school now. THAT was great! :) While we were there, we knocked on doors giving out information about our school and Common Core. Basically, we wanted the community to know that we care... which we do. You can't work in an area like this unless you care a great deal. From there, we supported our community by having a catered lunch (a local catering company hosted us), and then drove around seeing more areas where our students live. It was a really great day of visiting the community and bonding with our staff, and it was much more educational and important than sitting and listening to a boring speaker all day.