MCST Teachers Participate in a 4 Day Teacher-Led Professional Development 


submitted by Samantha Shane and Jennifer Skomial


As August came to an end, staff at Morris County School of Technology were focused on preparing for the upcoming school year.  During the last week in August, teachers and guidance counselors participated in MCST’s annual Summer Institute, teacher-driven professional development that focuses on exploring best teaching practices and preparing for the new school year. The week centered around the key themes from MCST’s mission statement: Inspire, Prepare, Succeed. 


Organized by Achievement Coaches Jennifer Skomial and Samantha Shane, the four-day event included teacher-led sessions on topics such as: building a culture of learning, formative assessments, authentic learning activities, interdisciplinary projects, social-emotional learning, grading practices, redefining school culture, problem-based learning, differentiation techniques, and career ready practices.  The professional learning focused on providing an engaging and supportive environment for students. Educators were able to learn from several guest facilitators including: Shawna Longo, ‘22 Sussex County Teacher of the Year, Dennis Dagounis, ‘22 Union County Teacher of the Year, and Dr. Katie Nieves Licwinko, Teacher/ Coordinator of Educational Technology Integration. 


As a result, teachers have developed interdisciplinary lessons, fostered relationships with new staff members, and prepared activities with a greater focus on social-emotional learning, to ensure students are successful in their learning journey. Dale Bendsak, Visual Arts teacher shared, I enjoyed learning about the experiences of outside experts as well as the discussions of best practices with my MCST colleagues.  As a veteran teacher, I view the MCST Summer Institute as a time to reflect, share, and learn – it’s a positive collegial jumpstart into the new school year!” 


Amidst the professional learning, there was time built in for some fellowship. Staff members were greeted each day with coffee and snacks, thanks to MCST’s Parent Teacher Organization. Generous donations from other local establishments provided teachers with a daily raffle to ramp up each day. Special thanks to The Pasta Shop, Thatcher McGee’s, Playa Bowls, as well as Legacy Printing and Riola Design for their t-shirts. 


MCST’s educators are looking forward to welcoming students on September 6th. Morris County School of Technology offers a variety of full-time and share-time academy programs. To learn more about program offerings, please visit


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