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Teaching Teachers: Summer Learning Helps Educators Succeed in the Classroom

Students are back in school for the year, but they may not know their teachers spent time learning in those same classrooms over the summer. Educators at National Heritage Academies (NHA) schools took part in special professional development programs to learn the latest in teaching techniques. Equipping teacher growth isn’t just an obligation for NHA, it’s an opportunity.
Education boards in each state mandate the number of hours teachers must spend learning throughout the year, and Sarah Vogel, NHA’s Manager of Curriculum and Instruction Operation and Assessment is proud to say NHA does more than most to promote teacher learning. She has seen first-hand how the ratio of supports to teachers makes a difference in enabling more robust coaching and learning opportunities for educators.
“Being a teacher is the hardest job you could ever do,” Vogel said. “So, let's give them all the tools that they’ll need to be successful. We also want to ensure that they're utilizing the tools in ways that are the most efficient and gain the most student outcomes.”
Nicole Franzese is one of those teachers. Franzese is a Language Arts Teacher at Endeavor Charter Academy in Springfield, Mich., and is in her eighth year with NHA.
“I think being able to give those teachers real-life tips, it’s important,” Franzese said. “We're all in this together. One of the best parts is that you're being taught by actual educators and not people who haven't been in the classroom for 20 years.”

Franzese recalled a PD session she attended four years ago that focused on Mindfulness. It opened her eyes to the many challenges children face today.
“I learned a lot about how to teach kids the language of their own brain,” she said. “It’s scary what trauma can do to a growing, not fully developed child. Having that taught to me and then being taught how to help kids was honestly life changing.”
Focusing on teachers will continue to be a priority for NHA schools, Vogel said, because the work they do is so important to so many children.
“They are the most important employees in this organization, the ones in the school building,” Vogel said. “So, whatever we can do to ensure they're good teachers, and then retain these good teachers, that’s what we try to do.”

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About National Heritage Academies:
National Heritage Academies (NHA) is a network of over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit

Visit Endeavor Charter Academy's blog to read more stories like this.