Ivy Preparatory Academies has launched a new program this school year that is providing weekly professional development sessions for teachers – and scholars.
The initiative, “Professional Development Wednesdays” is designed to help scholars grow in their intellectual and social development as young ladies, youth leaders, and future college graduates. The professional development sessions bring outside community partners to Ivy Prep to lead sessions on etiquette, public speaking, college planning, organization, and more.
Scholars in grades 6-8 rotate through the training sessions weekly while teachers meet for professional development elsewhere in the school.
“Professionalism is one of the core values that we teach at Ivy Prep Academy,” said Chaz Patterson, principal of Ivy Prep Gwinnett. “We want our scholars to represent themselves and Ivy Prep well in the community. The professional development sessions allow our scholars to spend time with experts who can help them to gain a competitive edge as they apply for internships, summer jobs, and academic enrichment programs.”
Patterson said he is seeking volunteers in the community to lead training sessions during the school year.
At least one training session each month focuses on the college enrollment process. The coaching helps scholars to become more familiar with fields of study, financial aid, and academic requirements.
Scholars recently began a college research project that challenges them to read college brochures from universities across the country and track their progress on a map. The session is led by Maggie Paynich, founder of Education Inspires, a college exploration program for middle school students.
“We are going to look at 50 colleges each, and we are going to aim for 25 different states,” Paynich told scholars at a recent session. “We are going to keep track of that so that you know where colleges are in the country.”
Scholars said the focus on higher education and self-improvement is helping them to think more seriously about the future.
“I am interested in going to Howard University or UCLA,” said Nia Spillers-Taylor, an eighth grader. “This is opening my eyes to what colleges really accept, and what they don’t like. It will help me to be more responsible.”