By Sandy Hodgson
In about two weeks, schools across the Rocky Mountain Conference will be wrapping up their first semester with students anticipating the wrapped gifts under the tree as they enjoy their Christmas vacation. Reflecting upon this first semester, the Office of Education has been witnessing to the many gifts that Adventist education provides, whether in RMC or Union College classrooms.
Diane Harris, director of education, along with Paul Negrete, associate director, and Sandy Hodgson, assistant director, all took time during first semester to visit all 18 of our schools. Intending to offer support and encouragement, we instead often found ourselves encouraged by the impact our teachers are making in the lives of their students, their churches, and their communities. From our one-teacher schools to our larger academies, our teachers are intent on making learning the focus of their programming by collaborating across campuses in person, by zoom, and by telephone.
Our teachers are intent on improving language arts and reading. Many are in their second year of a four-year training program called Unlocking the Code. This program utilizes neuroplasticity in rewiring brain strategies to aid in accelerating reading potential. During our school visits, we were given the gift of seeing the program in action and the progress our students are making.
RMC education leaders, along with a group of educators from Campion, Mile High, and Vista Ridge academies were able to attend a High Reliability Schools Workshop in Florida at the end of October. The focus helped school leaders create conditions for students to be successful. Being a “high reliability” organization means that we are accountable for ensuring that what we are doing is the right work and is, in fact, working.
Most recently, while in Lincoln, Nebraska for year-end meetings, I was able to participate in an education class at Union College. Senior elementary education majors were learning how to collaborate with school boards and churches. What a gift to see future educators interested in building strong relationships with churches, pastors, and school boards. Superintendents and principals from across the Mid-America Union also had the opportunity to meet with Union College education majors and offer support and encouragement as they prepare to enter the workforce and direct their students to the Creator of the Universe.
“Something Better” is the theme of the upcoming 2023 NAD Teachers’ Convention in August. Rocky Mountain Conference Educators are already moving in that direction. What a gift to partner with our schools and churches to offer “something better” throughout the Rocky Mountain Conference.
–Sandy Hodgson is RMC assistant director of education. Photos by Diane Harris.