DuBois Central Catholic Faculty Continue Learning!

     DuBois Central Catholic faculty enjoyed their recent in-service programs which were held on Thursday, February 20 and Friday, February 21.

     On Thursday, a segment of the faculty was given the presentation Work Force Solutions, by Colleen Prechtl, Career Counselor for Work Force Solutions of North Central PA and Aaron Herzing, Business Specialist Coordinator and DCC alum from the class of 2012.

     The presentation focused on programs available to students considering different career paths. As stated by Mrs. Prechtl, “Students share with their instructors the career paths they are interested in pursuing. A faculty member or guidance counselor contacts Mrs. Prechtl who then matches a business of interest with a group of students that match this interest. The students then have the opportunity of visiting the business and speak with individuals in this field.”

     A second group of DCC faculty and administrators visited Brockway Center for Arts & Technology to take part in, Mental Health First Aid USA. This two-day presentation was provided by Lori L. Yarger, MSW, Director of Mental Health Outpatient Services with Cen-Clear.

      Mental Health First Aid is a course that gives people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The evidence behind the program demonstrates that it does build mental health literacy, helping the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness.

      According to Lauren Rice, DCC Middle School mathematics instructor, “I feel more confident after attending the program regarding how to identify mental health issues. It was good to be reminded as a faculty member that if a mental health issue presents itself, we are to provide support for the student and refer the student to our guidance department. Guidance will then determine what further steps, if any, need to be taken.”

      Topics covered included depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis and substance use disorders. Trainees were taught how to apply a 5-step action plan in a variety of situations such as helping someone through a panic attack, engaging with someone who may be suicidal, or assisting an individual who has overdosed. Participants were able to practice the intervention strategy.   For more information on Mental Health First Aid go to www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org .

     On Friday, Jeffrey J. Kuntz with the Punxsutawney Area School District presented Book Study in a Day: The Wild Card. The presentation was based on the book, The Wild Card, 7 Steps to an Educator’s Creative Breakthrough. Middle school faculty members, Tara Kramer & Renee Gressler used The Wild Card to start a book club for faculty at DCC. Ashley Nelson, a fellow middle school instructor stated, “Tara & Renee are excellent at providing resources, such as this one, and encouragement to fellow faculty.”

     According to the author, Wade King, “Children don’t have control over their daily lives and the dynamics of “nature” and “nurture” that shape their early experiences. They are dealt a hand that includes their parents and their socioeconomics status.” Mr. King also noted in his book, “…memorable experiences-good or bad-really do stick with kids forever.”

     When educators unleash their own powers of creativity, enthusiasm is unleashed, engagement with students increases, learning is enhanced and the experience is memorable and rewarding for both faculty and students.

     A fun activity the faculty enjoyed dealt with The Positive Professional. Faculty learned how a positive attitude spreads easily verses a negative attitude which weighs everyone down. High school faculty member, Tim O’Connor stated, “My take away from today was you do not have to be elaborate in making changes in a classroom to make a significant difference. For example, you can review notes by making a tower of note cards and have kids answer questions.”

Mr. Kuntz obtained his B.S.Ed., Elementary Ed from IUP, M.Ed. Elementary Mathematics from IUP and has been with the Punxsutawney School District for almost 33 years.

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