UWP holds seminar for middle school teachers

August 29, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE-The University of Wisconsin-Platteville held its 23rd annual Teaching the Transescent Seminar July 28-31. "Middle Level: The Heart of Teaching" brought middle school teachers from across the state together to develop action plans for projects to implement during the upcoming school year.

Schools sent groups of teachers to the four-day conference to devise a plan on a project topic. There were a wide variety of topics included. The focus of the projects was on middle school, philosophy and organization.

The projects the teachers brought to develop ranged from advising students and preparing students for the transition into high school to better teaming of teachers and advancements in technology.

Two groups of teachers from Richland Center, middle school as well as high school teachers, came to the seminar to work on transition. The high school worked on smoothing the transition from middle school to high school. The middle school teachers were recently informed that at the start of the 2003-04 school year the sixth grade would move from the elementary school to the middle school.

"We did a lot of preparing before we went to the seminar," said Gary Schwartz, a middle school teacher who has attended every Teaching the Transescent Seminar at UWP. "The preparation helped to build team unity so that when we got to the seminar we got right to work.

"Even though the seminar lacked the number of participants compared to previous years, the group sizes were small and there was much more interaction between the teams," Schwartz added.

Richland Center Middle School will get to see how its project will fair on Sept. 2 when school starts.

"We feel pretty confident thanks to the preparation we had at the seminar. I'm sure there will be things that will need to be altered but we're ready," Schwartz said. "Our school is the way it is today because of the Teaching the Transescent seminars and UWP.

New to the seminar this year is credit availability for teachers. The teachers had the option of attending the pre- and/ or post-seminar. The pre-seminar credit is based on a paper describing why the teachers chose the project along with an analysis and supporting evidence. The post-seminar credit option is based on a paper defining the process of implementation of the project with supporting evidence and modifications that had to be made.

The feature speaker of the seminar, Dr. Ray Golarz, set the tone for the event by stressing middle schools as "kid-oriented and that's why we're here." Dr. Golarz has directed work with at-risk children and delinquent gangs near Chicago for nearly 20 years. He has also worked extensively with juvenile courts, probation officers and police departments teaching law enforcement officers about psychology of delinquent and deviant behavior. In addition, Dr. Golarz has served as an elementary and secondary school teacher, administrator and superintendent.

For more information about the Teaching the Transescent Seminar or the Center of Education for the Young Adolescent, please call 800-208-7041 or visit the website at http://www.uwplatt.edu/ceya or email ceya@uwplatt.edu.

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