Episode 7: TRIADvances – How Our Teachers Learn

Once teachers earn a bachelor’s degree and teaching certification they are done learning, right?  Not quite.  In the state of Illinois, when teachers receive their teaching certificate, they are required to attend and track continuing professional development in order to renew their certificate.  Certificates are renewed on a 5 year cycle and teachers must enter at least 120 CPDU’s (Continuing Professional Development Units) which equates to 120 hours of professional development per every 5 year certificate cycle.  In Episode 7 of “After The Bell Rings”, Adam and Mike talk about their new Personalized Professional Development program, called #TRIADvances, that puts a new spin on how teachers at Triad earn CPDU’s.  This new and exciting program has taken off and allowed teachers to explore new and exciting technology-infused lessons on their own time.  Adam and Mike have had the pleasure of presenting their #TRIADvances program at multiple local and statewide conferences and are excited to present it at METC Conference (St. Louis) and ICE Conference (Chicago) during the month of February 2018.


Click the image below to learn about our #TRIADvances Personalized Professional Development Program in Triad CUSD #2 in Troy, IL.


Our job takes us into classrooms from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade and we have an opportunity to see some amazing and innovating lessons in the classroom.  Each show that we host, we’d like to highlight a teacher or staff member that is leading the charge with engaging and innovative technology integration.  Today, we’d like to showcase, Brian Boyce & Sarah Brokering from CA Henning Elementary School.

About Mr. Boyce:  I grew up in Marine and attended the Triad School District from kindergarten through high school, graduating in 1996. I earned my degree in Elementary Education from Elmhurst College in 2000 and was lucky enough to be hired immediately by Triad. I have spent my entire teaching career as a 3rd grade teacher. I coached boys basketball at Triad Middle School for the first eight years I worked in the district and also spent a few summers coaching Jr. Legion baseball in Troy. I joke that I joined the family business because many of my family members have worked in the field of education (My mom and aunt both taught for Triad. My dad and uncle were both teachers and administrators for Triad.) I got married in 2005 (My wife is also a teacher.) and we have two daughters. We love sports, especially the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues. My goal is to see every MLB team play at home. I’ve seen 15 of the 30 teams in their home stadiums so far. We enjoy playing and watching sports and playing board games together. I also enjoy cooking on the grill and in my smoker.

About Mrs. Brokering:  I graduated from Alton-Marquette in 2000. I attended St. Louis University, spent a year abroad studying in Madrid, and graduated in 2004 with a degree in Marketing and International Studies. Throughout high school and college, I taught swimming lessons and English as a second language. For 3 years I worked in marketing at Maritz. I returned to school and graduated in 2009 with a degree in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. I earned my Masters degree in Instructional Strategies in 2015 from Rockford University. My family and I live in Troy. I have been married to my husband, a CPA at a local accounting firm, for 11 years. I have two boys, 7 and 4, who also attend Triad schools. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, running, and traveling. 2017-2018 year will be my 8th year teaching 5th grade.

Mrs. Brokering & Mr. Boyce are collaborating to create a digital breakout to share between their 5th grade and 3rd grade classroom.  Digital breakouts are similar to escape rooms but only exist digitally.  In this case, Mrs. Brokering and Mr. Boyce are working to create a web site with clues hidden on the page.  Students must find the hidden clues and attempt to “break out” of the web site by entering answers into a locked Google Form.  The subject of this particular digital breakout is fractions.  Digital breakouts teach students problem solving, collaboration, deductive reasoning, perseverance, critical thinking, communication skills, team-building skills, and how to work under pressure.

Chuck Taft from SocialStudiesOutLoud.com states “Similar to the classroom version, digital breakouts involve challenging students with a series of locks that must be opened, centered around a theme and clues tied to the curriculum. Instead of having physical clues in a classroom space, digital breakouts are housed on a website, with clues available directly (or hidden) on the website and/or through various digital platforms. Kids can learn a ton about the selected content and develop specific skills if desired as they complete the breakouts. Once participants solve the clues, they unlock a new webpage with a congratulatory message. Most importantly, students experience the thrill of the chase, leading to increased engagement!”


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