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BZS Holds Professional Development Workshop

Press Release - Bernews

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The Bermuda Zoological Society [BZS] recently held an online professional development workshop for 13 participants, representing nine different non-governmental organizations [NGOs].

A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Zoological Society [BZS] is very pleased to have received the support of the Centennial Foundation Committee through their grant for the funding of a recently delivered an online workshop for 13 participants, representing nine different non-governmental organizations.

“The workshop, which was coordinated by the Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families, was developed in response to the Centennial Foundation’s request for BZS to show other NGOs how data measuring the effectiveness of their GASS [Generating Academic Success in Science] programme was obtained.

“The intent of this first one-day virtual workshop was to help establish relationships and collaborative networks among the participants, provide opportunities to learn as well as reflect on current practices, and to provide insight and support to others through brainstorming sessions.

“The workshop utilized applications such as Padlet, Nearpod, PowerPoint, and Zoom for break-out brainstorming sessions.

“Dr Jamie Bacon, BZS Education Officer, presented on the BZS schools programme and the development of the GASS programme.”

Dr. Bacon said, “To provide donors with the quantitative data they require, the BZS developed the GASS programme which includes both a pre- and post-assessment. Results from the assessments provided numeric data to donors which revealed a marked improvement in student assessment scores after they completed the GASS programme.”

The spokesperson said, “BZS GASS topics include Pollination and Seed Dispersal for P5s, Food Chains for P6s and M1s, as well as Classification of Vertebrates and pH and Ocean Acidification for M1s. Further GASS topics are being developed for other year groups to complement the more than 25 Cambridge-linked biology and chemistry classes BZS currently offers to students in P1 through Senior School.

“The ‘Gallery Walk’ component of the workshop provided opportunities for participants to share challenges they face in meeting their organization’s goals; the subsequent collaborative brainstorm sessions allowed participants to give positive suggestions to other participants on what might help them meet their challenges in the future.

“Dr. Stephanie Toro of the Teacher’s Toolbox provided instruction on learning objectives and constructive alignment. This session was very well received by the attendees, with some expressing the desire to learn more from her future workshops.”

“At Inter Agency Committee for Children & Families [IAC], we believe that social sector organizations have so much to learn from one another,” said Nicola Paugh, Programme Coordinator, IAC.

“IAC is committed to providing meaning, relevant professional development opportunities that increase the use of evidenced-based best practices in Bermuda. We were excited to be able to partner with BZS and the Centennial Bermuda Foundation to make this training happen, at no charge to the participants, to help nonprofits enhance their programme design knowledge.”

The spokesperson said, “It is anticipated that this workshop will be the first of a series that will delve into programme design, implementation, and evaluation.

“The shared mission of BZS and BAMZ is to inspire appreciation and care of island environments, and as the support charity for BAMZ, the BZS is an example of a highly successful non-profit/public partnership.

“Each year the BZS provide more than 8,000 free educational experiences through our Stempel Foundation BZS Schools Programme in addition to popular community programmes for all ages, development of BAMZ exhibits, and conservation and research programmes. Each year, BZS Volunteers contribute over 10,000 hours of valuable husbandry support to the Aquarium and Zoo with all programmes being accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.”