The Times
  • Teachers from Fort Plain, Canajoharie learn co-teaching strategies at seminar in Syracuse

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  • FORT PLAIN — The Fort Plain and Canajoharie school districts recently sent 13 representatives to a co-teaching seminar in Syracuse.
    Marilyn Friend, who is considered a leader in the field, taught the seminar.
    Co-teaching is when two teachers share a classroom and instructional responsibilities.
    Special education director Theodore Arndt said he thought it was a great opportunity for both districts to learn about co-teaching and to share ideas about how this technique is used in the two districts.
    He said the training provided an overview of co-teaching as well as detailed information about effectively planning and implementing co-teaching programs. The training outlined several types of styles used in the co-teaching model, and the program was specifically designed for general education teachers, special education staff, ESL teachers and other specialists who currently co-teach or plan to.
    Many of the teachers from Fort Plain said they learned a lot at the seminar and took away some vital information.
    Beth Cwaikala and Lisa VanValkenburgh agreed Friend’s information was “eye opening,” and a few points she made truly stood out for them.
    “We felt her first question, ‘What are you doing in your co-taught class that one teacher couldn’t do alone?’ is a great question that should be asked of every co-teaching team,” the teachers wrote in an assessment. “This question would force the team to look at their classroom, and Friend’s many suggested strategies, to better utilize two certified teachers.”
    Teacher Tracy Yurkewecz said took away important information about many concepts including, grouping strategies, observation data and electronic planning.
    “I am able to walk away with useful information and I think this we provide a stronger foundation as I work with my co-teachers to plan future lessons and especially as we gear up for next year’s classes,” she said.
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