The first clue that the fourth annual Arlington ISD Pre-K Academy presented by the AISD Education Foundation was going to be a big deal was when enrollment for the training session had to be stopped because there was no more room available at the Professional Development Center.
The academy lived up the billing as the full-day event included training sessions and a keynote address from Sesame Street star Sonia Manzano.
“The main goal of this was to continue to educate our pre-K teachers in best practices and to continue to grow the program,” said Rhonda Greer, early childhood and elementary educational operations coordinator. “It greatly exceeded our expectations, and we could not have done this academy without the help of the AISD Education Foundation.”
Manzano set the tone with “Working with Poverty Students.” The veteran of 44 years on Sesame Street grew up in poverty in the Bronx after coming to the United States from Puerto Rico. Following her talk, the 250 attendees went to breakout sessions on managing early childhood classrooms, the behavior toolbox, and successful centers and standard-based learning centers.
The event was open to AISD pre-K teachers and aides. School principals, assistant principals and deans also attended as well as community-based pre-K staff members. It was also open to workers from childcare facilities that are linked to AISD schools with those workers receiving 8 hours of credit toward certification.
“This is the kind of fabulous training we hope to continue,” Greer said. “It’s vital to our success as we move forward. I can’t say enough about the work that went into making this event so successful.”