Diverse Learners Conference: Learning opportunity for Archdiocesan schools

September 4, 2012

HOUSTON — The Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office is integrating a new program to enable teachers to fulfill the diverse learning needs of all Catholic school students. Over the summer, the office held a Diverse Learners Conference for principals, counselors, teachers and teacher aids to provide faculty with the tools, strategies and techniques necessary to reach a growing and diverse group of students who have a broad range of learning needs, including students with learning disabilities. 

Archdiocesan Superintendent Sister Kevina Keating, CCVI, said, the office will continue professional development in this area through periodic teacher workshops.

Miguel Perez, Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Associate Superintendent, said the summer workshop was designed to allow Archdiocesan faculty members to understand and be aware of diverse learners.

“The Masterful Teaching: Diverse Learners Conference,” [titled] ‘Helping Every Student Learn,’ provided educators with practical instructional strategies in order to cognitively engage all students. The sessions also provided examples and ideas [on] how to strengthen teachers’ instructional delivery as they become a ‘facilitator’ of learning,” Perez said.

This was the first time Archdiocesan teachers and staff received this workshop. Perez said he hopes the program will assist teachers in understanding and reaching students who have special learning needs.

“It’s important to have these types of trainings so that we are better able to build capacity in the schools and, at the same time, really have instructional leaders in every classroom,” he said. “We really cover the topics of diverse learners while providing feedback and strategies for those who could be identified with dyslexia, for example.”

Perez said that, in 2012, the program will focus on enhancing educational practices by increasing the use of higher order thinking skills. Future plans include an extension of the conference in smaller workshops offered throughout the year.

“In talking with Shelly Garza, the conference speaker from Education Specialist, Region IV Education Service Center, the foundation of behavior is to improve student discipline and achievement,” Perez said. “We talked about what the behavior research shows, brain development and how we address it in education.” 

For more information on upcoming workshops, contact the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office at 713-741-8704.