LIVE “Back-to-School Tips and Takeaways”: The First in Our Live Pop-Up PD Series

Experienced teachers know it: Get the first couple weeks right—with habits and routines—and you and your students will be in position for a year of success! Join this one-hour online session of camaraderie, energy, and a set of easy-to-implement takeaways that will make your first couple weeks feel sturdy, purposeful, and fun. Collaboration will continue on the TeachersConnect Community.

The one-hour gathering will include three 17-minute interactive sessions lead by three amazing facilitators. Each session is directly relevant to teachers in grades PK-12.

1. Moving from Safe Classrooms to Brave Classrooms

Caterina Rodriguez, Anti-Defamation League

“Safe” classrooms matter. “Brave” classrooms are inspirational and can catalyze learning and growth for students and teachers alike. Start your year off right; learn what it means to have a “Brave” classroom, and walk away with strategies to move from a safe space to a brave space!

2. Happy Teachers = Happy Kids: Supporting Your Mental Health and Wellness this School Year

Danna Thomas, Happy Teacher Revolution

Yes, you matter. This session explores the importance of self-care in the field of education and the necessity for teachers to feel empowered to claim their own happiness as a “best-practice” to help students grow.

3. Your Students & You: Creating a Bond From the Get-Go

Shirley Jones-Luke, Teacher, Boston Public Schools

It’s true what they say about first impressions – you only get one chance to make a good one. Most students show their best selves during the first few days of school; we as teachers need to remember to present our best selves as well. Join us as we consider how our beginning-of-school moves impact the rest of the school year.


WHEN: Monday, August 12, 7:00 PM ET

WHERE: Wherever you want; it’s an online session!

COST: Attend this session for free or show us what it’s worth to your teaching. Payments will be shared evenly by the session facilitators and TeachersConnnect.


Facilitator Bios

Caterina Rodriguez is Anti-Defamation League’s National Director of PK-12 Education Programs. Caterina oversees the strategic direction, implementation, and evolution of ADL Education’s school programs, including No Place for Hate®. Before joining ADL, Caterina was involved in public health advocacy, community organizing and policy work in Boston, MA, that focused on the equitable access, rights and protections of HIV-positive communities, especially LGBTQ young people of color. Originally from the Dominican Republic and having lived in multiple countries, Caterina has always had a passion for diversity and inclusion of cultures and people. Coupled with her focus on serving young people, this is what brought her to ADL to help schools create equitable, respectful and inclusive environments where all students can thrive.

Danna Thomas is a former kindergarten teacher turned founder of the Happy Teacher Revolution, an international movement that hosts mental health and wellness support groups for teachers. So far, the program boasts more than 1,500 teacher participants to-date. Danna began this journey based on her own experiences with anxiety, depression and panic attacks and seeks to help teachers feel less alone by sharing in one another’s vulnerabilities and imperfections. She believes that in order to solve the teacher burnout and turnover crisis, we must come together as a community and revolutionize how we professionally support educators.

Shirley Jones-Luke is an educator, poet, and writer. Ms. Luke has taught for 15 years in the Boston Public Schools. Shirley’s expertise is in English Language Arts for middle and high school students. Ms. Luke uses a variety of strategies to engage her students – gallery walks, read alouds & turn & talks. Shirley believes in every student’s ability to achieve & succeed with kindness, consistency & support. Ms. Luke is currently a 6th-grade teacher at the John D. McCormack Middle School.