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Hillside Elementary School Teachers Hold Intervention Cafe for Professional Development

Hillside Elementary School Principal Amy Cazes looks on as teachers listen to a Hillside OT specialist.All faculty members and staff in specialty areas gathered for an Intervention Cafe last week, a professional learning experience where they shared their resources and strategies with other educators. 

“We want classroom teachers to feel empowered to support their students and meet all their needs,” said Special Education teacher Kristina Ippolito. “The point is to share our expertise and provide resources and materials that they can use within their classrooms.” 

Educators specializing in English as a new language, speech and language, reading, math, mental health, special education, and occupational therapy shared a variety of “interventions” at the event. An intervention is intended to provide support or modification in the classroom for a student with different needs. These interventions aid teachers in utilizing the resources in the classroom to make real-time adjustments to teaching methods that best support and assist all students at Hillside Elementary School. 

“We’re all there showing and sharing resources that all of the teachers can use in their own classrooms,” said Special Education teacher Caren Cort. “It's a way that we can all collaborate and work together.” 

At the Intervention Cafe, Cort and Ippolito and other educators in special areas, set up tables filled with instructional materials and interact with fellow teachers so they could hear from specialists first-hand about using specialized approaches for students of all needs. They also share best practices about how to put these plans in action in their classrooms. 

Hillside Elementary School teachers work with a specialist on interventions in the classroom.“There is something everyone can take away from this event,” said Ippolito. “It’s super helpful for teachers to go around and see all the resources that are available to them. Just about every teacher will find something that can help them.”

Teachers are also able to digitally access all the various resources and strategies learned at the event to be able to pull support materials in their classrooms simultaneously. 

“It’s about what we can do to help them access the learning and support friends so they can access the curriculum to the best of their ability,” said Ippolito. 

With the continuous updating of methods and specialized approaches towards students of all needs, specialized educators are able to provide Hillside Elementary School teachers with new tools to support classroom instruction each year.  

“It’s exciting because there is always something that we can take away,” said Ippolito. “Students change, and each year different students have different needs, and it’s about what we can do to help them access the learning and support them so they can use the curriculum to the best of their ability.” 

“Intervention Cafe helps the students because they are directly benefiting from the resources,” added Cort. “It helps us help them.”

Administrators at the school said the event is a great way for all teachers at the school to collaborate and ensure easy access to all information and resources available to them. 

“We have so much knowledge here at Hillside, and the Intervention Cafe is an annual opportunity to learn from each other,” said Hillside Elementary School Principal Amy Cazes. “We are grateful to have a wonderful team working together to ensure the best educational experience for each child."’