Northern Virginia (NOVA) Congregations Collaborate to provide a Rich and Rewarding Teacher Training Program with the Help of a Faithify Campaign For the last two years, Congregations in the NOVA Cluster have offered a collaborative training day in the fall for religious Education (RE) teachers. By pooling resources, the religious education programs have been able to offer multiple workshops and classes led by experts in the field. Director of Religious Exploration at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax Linnea Nelson explained, “We had an opportunity to take it to the next level this year. We wanted to offer exciting new workshops on important issues like providing OWL to children on the autistic spectrum, and understanding white supremacy in the realm of RE, as well as topics like basic classroom management, storytelling, and music. We also didn’t want to ask our volunteers to pay for their own food or child care expenses. These are people who deserve our thanks and appreciation, and we wanted to show it by planning a rich and rewarding day of training, with a meal and key note speeches.”
Early planning meant the NOVA training team was able to secure keynote speakers Pat Infante, Taquiena Boston and Shannon Harper speaking on Exploring Culture and Race as RE Teachers, as well as workshop leaders Ray and Shellie Selove on Including those with Special Needs in OWL and much more. With an initial grant of $500 from CER, it became clear that a “dream training” was possible if it were supported by a successful Faithify Campaign .
“I really hope this event is funded and we’re able to attend,” comments 2-3rd grade teacher Leah Choudhury. “I’ve been a volunteer teacher at Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church for 18 years, and the cluster trainings I’ve attended have been really worthwhile. One great workshop in particular was on games for young children. That’s not something we’ve been offered when just our Religious Educator led the training alone. It really makes a difference when we can start the year off with a more comprehensive experience.”
The Faithify Campaign in support of collaborative NOVA teacher training will run until August 18.