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Drum circles, Common Core on teachers' training day agenda

While students protested against testing and basked in the late-spring sun, educators across the city hunkered down to prepare for next year.

The first Thursday of June is a mandatory training day for city teachers. Hiring committees were set to meet at some schools up for “turnaround” overhauls, teachers offered voluntary tutoring sessions for high schoolers scheduled to take Regents exams next week, and some departments took educational field trips, according to GothamSchools readers who reached out to let us know how they were spending the day formerly known as Brooklyn-Queens Day.

Here are some of the responses we got on Twitter when we asked city teachers how they were spending the training day:

And here’s how we described the transition from Brooklyn-Queens Day to a training day back in 2010, when circus activities were on tap for some teachers:

From 1829 to 2006, schools in Brooklyn and Queens were closed on the first Thursday of June so that students could honor their Sunday school teachers with parades and parties. Over time, the original purposewas mostly lost, but schools in the two boroughs continued to shut their doors one day each June. That all changed with the 2005 teachers contract, which extended the day off to students across the city but turned it into a professional development day for teachers.

Now it’s called “Chancellor’s Conference Day for staff development related to the Regents High Learning Standards and Assessments,” according to the Department of Education’s calendar, and teachers are required to report for duty. (“Students IN ALL FIVE BOROUGHS will NOT be in attendance,” the calendar warns.)

Today won’t be teachers’ last chance to get extra training on new learning standards before next fall, when they roll out citywide and will be tied to state tests for the first time. Because the city did not cancel school for snow this year, the year has more days than the required minimum, so the city is allowing schools to use two of the last days of class this month as Common Core training days.

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