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Cayuga Community College Establishes the Teachers Professional Development Institute

DATE: 05-26-2011

Public school teachers and community educators face a broad range of challenges every day in their classrooms.

Cursory issues associated with students living in poverty or students with emotional or social challenges cause as much or more of an obstacle to student learning as the course subject material itself. Ever-evolving technologies push teachers to keep up with the skills of their incoming students and to continuously find ways to incorporate new technologies into lesson plans and content delivery.

This summer, Cayuga Community College will launch its Teachers Professional Development Institute to help educators add to their instructional toolkits, learn new theories and methodologies, and brush up their skills.

“The institute provides affordable and motivating educational experiences for teachers throughout Central New York,” said Community Education and Workforce Development Dean Carla DeShaw. “The institute’s workshops, seminars, and discussions will challenge teachers to consider emerging pedagogy practices and find solutions to their biggest challenges.”  

New York State requires teachers with professional certificates to complete 175 hours of professional development and Level III teaching assistants to complete 75 hours of professional development every five years for their certificates to remain valid, according to the New York State Education Department.

“Our teachers in the area needed a new resource to meet their professional development requirements,” DeShaw said. “We saw an opportunity for the College to step up and help provide the continuing education courses for our educators—not only in our public schools but also those who work as educators in community organizations.”

This year’s institute will feature three prominent presenters:

  • Brian Mendler, a certified K-12 and special education teacher with extensive experience working with challenging students in general education, self-contained, and inclusion settings, and an adjunct professor at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y.
  • Wendy West Pidkaminy, a licensed clinical social worker, certified school social worker, adjunct professor at Syracuse University, and author of two books, including Parenting Challenging Children with Power, Love and Sound Mind. She is the director of Nurturing Life Concepts, a counseling, coaching, and consultation practice.
  • Vivian Demers-Jagoda, a 30-year veteran of education, teaching more than 500 students each year and conducting hundreds of teacher trainings. She was selected Citizen of the Year in Education by a Buffalo, N.Y., newspaper, and received a Senate Award from NY Senator Dale Volker for her innovation in teaching practices.

Experienced and highly regarded educators from the region will also deliver courses that cover a broad range of topics, including technology in classrooms, guided reading, quilting and crochet to improve cognitive skills, collaborative teaching, understanding poverty, dealing with difficult students, and student motivation, among others.

Most of the courses can be completed in half-day or full-day, beginning at the end of June and running through August. The majority of the courses cost between $29 and $49, and will be held on the Cayuga Community College Auburn Campus, 197 Franklin St., Auburn.

To receive a course catalog or more information, visit or call 315-294-8841.