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YUHSD partners with Solution Tree for two-day summer professional development

The two-month summer break between the school years has marked an opportunity for Yuma Union High School District staff members to continue their professional development. Kofa's Ben Franz, Tim Keller and Ian Coltman

The latest workshop hosted by the district took place June 18-19 with a two-day visit from Solution Tree, an organization which has worked for 20-plus years to transform education worldwide by empowering educators to raise student achievement.

Principals, assistant principals, instructional leaders and district administrators from YUHSD were in attendance with topics ranging from social-emotional learning to professional learning communities (PLCs).

“This gives our leaders an opportunity to look at our PLC work,” YUHSD Chief Academic Officer Eric Brooks said. “Our PLC work is really the foundation of all of our adult relationships in the school. It’s where colleagues talk about the work that they share. The stronger we make that, the stronger instruction becomes, and the stronger, then, it becomes for our students.”

Presenters Mark Onuscheck and Anthony Reibel, who are both school leaders in Illinois, have worked with YUHSD over the course of the last two years. This week’s presentation was the sixth time Solution Tree has provided professional development for the district in that time.

This time around, the focus on PLCs, according to Brooks, was important because of the allotted time for growth throughout the school year. For nearly a decade, YUHSD schools have committed to an early release schedule for students each Monday to allow for two hours of PLC time.

“That’s the only time you have to really hone your craft and you do that with the other people who are doing the same work as you,” Brooks added. “It’s the only time you have, so you need to show up to it prepared. And this [workshop] helps us do that and create that space.”

The visit from Solution Tree is one of several planned professional development activities for YUHSD staff, including an athletic coaches workshop with Positive Coaching Alliance in May, Emergency Operations Planning in June, and the AVID summer institute and the Career & Technical Education summer conference in July. 

More about Solution Tree

With more than 42,984 educators attending professional learning events and more than 4,260 professional development days in schools each year, Solution Tree helps teachers and administrators confront essential challenges. Solution Tree has a catalog of more than 515 titles, hundreds of videos and online courses and is the creator of Global PD, an online tool that facilitates the work of professional learning communities.

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org