District proudly hosts nErD Camp Long Island

District proudly hosts nErD Camp Long Island photo

Over 300 educators from across Long Island and beyond gathered to celebrate their love of reading while networking and participating in professional development sessions at James H. Boyd Intermediate School as the Elwood Union Free School District hosted the third nErD Camp Long Island on Nov. 4.

The special event, which included over 60 authors and illustrators, gave educators the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills and techniques that they can bring into their own classrooms. The event came to fruition with the idea of combining the Nerdy Book Club, a blog site with literacy lovers and the Ed Camp model, an “unconference” educational camp that focuses on participant driven learning.

Attendees had the opportunity to choose what they wanted to discuss in the sessions, which were fully based on preferences and interests. Topics included “Growing a STEAM Mindset with Picture Books,” “Books to Promote Mindfulness,” “Tough Topics in the Classroom,” “Ideas and Inspiration to Get Students Writing” and more. Educators also had the unique opportunity to speak with authors and illustrators about their stories and writing process. 

“nErD Camp Long Island is run by three educational leaders, literacy consultant JoEllen McCarthy, Kristen Picone and Alison McDermott,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Maureen Hull. “These people have really changed the landscape of literacy for Long Island by including us in this nationwide initiative and Elwood is so thrilled that we were selected to host this event.” 

Representatives from Barnes and Noble set up a shop in the school where attendees could purchase books from any of the authors and illustrators at the event. Members from Elwood Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society also volunteered their time to help give out books in the school’s lobby during the event. At the conclusion of all the sessions, attendees gathered in the auditorium for a raffle where winners were awarded with prizes courtesy of nErD Camp sponsors. 

In the afternoon, children from across Long Island were invited to meet the authors and illustrators in a meet and greet setting. Tables were set up in the school’s gymnasium where children could get their books signed. The room was filled with educators and families who took photos and mingled with their favorite authors and illustrators. 

“Today has been the most amazing day of my career,” said James H. Boyd Intermediate School Principal Dr. Denise Toscano. “I am so thankful for the authors and educators who were able to participate in this event.”