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It’s Not a Race—It’s a Marathon!

On June 7-9, 2023, professional staff from 51 LPP projects gathered in Saratoga Springs, New York to experience professional development like no other. With The Amazing Race as the theme, competition was fierce and the forged friendships were strong. Teams completed an escape room, choreographed an African-inspired dance, and competed in LPP-themed Family Feud all to build comradery and earn points for potential victory at the end of the event. 

The first official day of the competition began with traditional African drummers from the Hamilton Hill Arts Center in Schenectady, New York ( They taught participants about their culture and the meaning behind their various drums and dances. Afterwards, teams gathered to choreograph their own dance inspired by what they learned from the Hamilton Hill drummers who kindly judged each team. 

At the end of an action-packed day, participants gathered for dinner, a moving message from the keynote speaker, Mr. Carlos Garcia, and NYSED Jeopardy where teams went head-to-head for extra points. Lastly, on the final day, professionals joined for one last workshop that focused on managing conflict and best practices. But, let’s not forget—the winners were announced! 

After three days of events, development, and bonding, June 2023 Professional Development came to a close with the Orange team in third place, the White team in second place, and the Red team in first place. However, more important than who won, the three-day gathering was successful for all, because it was an opportunity for professionals who work hard to bring support to at-risk students to earn even more support for themselves and their programs. We can’t wait to see what the next PD brings!