Finding their compass: Nevada County teachers gather at NU for Professional Development Day |

Finding their compass: Nevada County teachers gather at NU for Professional Development Day

Phil Boyte, right, breaks the ice with educators from across Nevada County during a workshop on "How to Engage Students in the Classroom" Monday morning. More than 600 educators were at Nevada Union High School for a county-wide Professional Development Day.
Photo by Liz Kellar/ |

If you want to create a school no one wants to leave, you have to start with the culture among the staff, Phil Boyte told an auditorium packed with more than 600 teachers from across Nevada County.

Boyte, who speaks nationwide on how to engage students, was at Nevada Union High School Monday for a countywide professional development day with the theme of “Find Your Compass.”

The event, sponsored by the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office, featured Boyte as the keynote speaker, as well as breakout sessions on topics including integrating science into the classroom, suicide prevention and writing collaboration.

More than 40 workshops were presented by Nevada County teachers and instructional leaders as well as community partners such as the Nevada County Arts Council, Sierra Streams Institute, South Yuba River Citizens League, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and Behavioral Health.

Boyte, a motivational speaker who founded Learning for Living in 1984, helped create Link Crew, a high school orientation and transition program that increases freshman success. He tours the country with his Breaking Down the Walls program, which is designed to unify, empower and engage students to create a positive and supportive campus climate.

The school culture starts with the teachers, Boyte said, adding, “You need to have fun.”

Boyte’s commandments: “Love what you do. Love who you do it with. Love yourself.”

The speaker reminded the teachers of tenets such as assuming the best of others, and building relationships with the students at their school regardless of their position.

“We know (these things),” he said. “But are we willing to risk it?”

The end result of putting in the effort, Boyte told them, is nothing less than “working on the soul of your school.”

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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