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Area schools work together to improve education

JOHNSBURG - In recent years, local schools have realized the advantages of working together to improve the teaching in their individual districts. The True North Consortium is a group of Adirondack schools who meet annually for purposes of staff development.

Schools in the Adirondacks find themselves in unique situations regarding their size, but also with regard to sports, rural location and opportunities for interaction with other districts. Some northern schools have come together to act as a sounding board for one another on such issues.

The True North Consortium is a regional professional development event provided by True North districts and WSWHE BOCES.

On Friday, Oct. 9 teachers, aides and administrators from Johnsburg, Minerva, Newcomb, Long Lake and Indian Lake Central Schools met at Johnsburg to approach issues of general education and those unique to True North Schools.

"Our schools are so small, it is nice to collaborate with people who understand our strengths and weaknesses. It works really well," said Nadeen Kearney, principal at Johnsburg Central School.

These five schools have been meeting in this manner

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for roughly five years and have seen other districts in the area come and go from their consortium, but they remain steady and committed to the working relationship that they have developed.

"This extends far beyond this staff development day," said Minerva Principal Heidi Kelly. "The principals meet every month."

These meetings serve as idea sessions, problem-solving opportunities and an overall support system. The schools also collaborate on test scoring, sports opportunities, etc.

The staff development day itself focused on instructive practices involving professional speakers and interactive workshops.

Sessions included this year were, Redesigning the Research Project; School Health Issues; Reading Content Areas; Literacy; Cooperative Learning; RTI; Meaningful Rubrics; Brain Based Learning; Differentiated Leaning; 6 Traits and a PE Profile.

The fact alone that these schools have the opportunity to work together is meaningful, according to David Snide, Principal at Indian Lake Central School.

"The interaction is really important," he said.

Members of The True North Consortium said there are many benefits of the partnership. The group plans to keep the staff development day and other interactive opportunities as a staple of their school years.

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