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On Rochester's 'No School' Day, Teachers Were Still Busy Learning

Ever wondered what teachers do on a professional development day? So did we.

Maybe your children spent Monday lounging around, enjoying a day without school.

In the meantime, one group of teachers was hard at work learning about a new way to get them moving.

On Monday morning, 28 of the Rochester Community School District's physical education teachers met in the gym to learn about adding rugby to the K-12 physical education curriculum.

Elsewhere, in school buildings across the district, other groups of teachers and staff were meeting together to learn about new skills or teaching methods, too. The world language teachers, for example, were receiving coaching on how to teach languages to all levels of learners. The middle school counselors were learning from a psychologist how to help children who cut. Math teachers met with representatives of Everyday Mathematics.

"Every department zeros in on what their needs are," said Sandy Srabian, curriculum director for the district. Monday was one of five professional development days this school year. "It's an excellent opportunity for teachers to get together," she said.

Inside the Adams gym, Jim Clawson was teaching the gym teachers — many whom have never watched or played rugby — all about the sport.

"It's a mix of soccer and football, but the benefits to something like a gym class are that everyone keeps moving — it's really 40 minutes of constant activity," said Clawson, an assistant rugby coach at Wayne State University who also coaches a club team, the Birmingham Buccaneers.

Clawson said rugby will grow in popularity, as it will be a featured sport in the 2016 Olympic games. He also said it's a sport that girls tend to pick up more quickly than boys.

Tom Cooney is the physical education coordinator for the district; he is a teacher at . Cooney said the teachers are constantly looking to enhance their curriculum.

"As he is explaining the sports, I'm hearing teachers whisper 'This is how I could use rugby in my class,' " Cooney said. "I think this is a sport that kids would really like playing. I don't know if or when we'll add it, but this gives us some good ideas about how to go about it."

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