Putnam educators dive into learning

OTTAWA — The Putnam County Education Service Center brought teachers from across the county together Monday at Ottawa-Glandorf High School to participate in professional development.

“It’s nice to see teachers talking,” curriculum coordinator Gary Herman said. “They just don’t have the time to do this when they’re back in their home schools, and there is so much required of them. So it’s good to have a day like this to focus on how to get better.”

The keynote speaker was Chad Ostrowski, who developed the “Grid Method.”

“If there’s something I want you to understand, it’s that when I say ‘better’ I do not mean ‘perfect,’” Ostrowski said. “There’s no such thing as a perfect educator. It does not exist. Better does not mean perfect. It means the consistent pursuit of improvement over time. You don’t have to be perfect to be a great educator. But we can all strive to be a little bit better every single day.”

Many of the breakout sessions were applicable to the Grid Method, an instructional framework where the teacher develops a tiered and aligned pathway.

Jessica Stallard and Alyssa Damschroeder from the Pathways Counselling Center shared a session, “Emotional Learning and Mental Health Awareness in Schools.” In their session, teachers were given an understanding of the importance and the impact that mental health has on students.

The American Academy of Pediatrics declared a mental health crisis in 2022. As many as one in seven children ages 2 to 8 and one in five ages 5 to 17 has a diagnosable mental health condition. Most of them go untreated.

Students need to be taught to be self-aware of their emotions. Students need to be taught to recognize their emotions and values as well as their strengths and challenges. These will affect how students respond to others.

When students become self-aware, they can then recognize emotions in others. Then students can move on to self-management, which is the ability to set goals, to deal with stressors and to control impulses, reactions and behaviors.

The final step is social awareness, which is the ability to appreciate different perspectives and empathize with others, including those with diverse backgrounds and cultures. The students move on to relationship skills which is the ability to establish mutually supportive relationships.

Other sessions included E-sports, school safety, accountability, depth of knowledge and accountability.

The ongoing idea is that what was started at this session will be enhanced at a session in October.

“So it’s not the ‘flavor of the month,’” said Jan Osborn, superintendent of the Putnam County ESC. “This is based on high-impact research so we will continue with more development so it does not go away in two years.”

Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409

Dean Brown joined The Lima News in 2022 as a reporter. Prior to The Lima News, Brown was an English teacher in Allen County for 38 years, with stops at Perry, Shawnee, Spencerville and Heir Force Community School. So they figured he could throw a few sentences together about education and business in the area. An award-winning photographer, Brown likes watching old black and white movies, his dog, his wife and kids, and the four grandkids - not necessarily in that order. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0409.