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Professional development free for Valley teachers

“Why don’t they print crossword puzzles with answers already on them –?wouldn’t that be more efficient?” Terry Shaw asked a roomful of Valley science teachers, eliciting laughter from the group.

The University of California, Berkeley, educator was wrapping up a seminar titled “Effective Science Inquiry,” intended to help teachers engage their students in science, stimulate curiosity and improve learning.

“It’s all about the thrill of inquiry,” he said, prompting the teachers to consider how they could enhance their students’ academic experience.

The six-hour seminar, which sixth-grade teacher Robin Grantham called “incredibly useful,” was one of a series of professional development courses offered to Valley educators free of charge thanks to the Snoqualmie Valley Schools Foundation.

Other popular offerings included a class that gave teachers strategies for working with struggling readers, as well as courses designed to help educators incorporate emerging technologies, such as ActivBoards, into their classrooms. Snoqualmie Valley Schools Foundation President Carolyn Simpson estimated that about 100 teachers with varying levels of experience and from all grade levels took at least one class.

This is the first year the foundation has been able to fully fund the educators’ academy, which has been providing summertime learning opportunities for years. This year’s programming cost about $12,500, Simpson said.

“We want to fund these classes so teachers don’t have to write a check from their own pockets to keep learning,” she said. “We’re happy to fund it, and we hope we can continue to do so with continued donor support.”

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