2014-2015 District Staff Development
What’s Happening This Year For Staff Development?
This will be an exceedingly busy and intensive staff development year for the Brunswick School Department. We are faced with compliance and preparation in moving towards a proficiency-based diploma, ongoing implementation of the Common Core of State Standards, and figuring out how to meet the criteria and requirements of the new Effective Educator law. All three of these mandates have huge implications K to 12 in how we ensure that our students are meeting essential competencies to prepare them for career, college, and citizenship. We enter our third year of K-5 teachers continuing to learn about the pedagogy and effective practices needed to instruct Math In Focus. Our Brunswick Junior High School math department begins the “Big Ideas Math Program.”
Our new two and a half hour block schedule at the elementary school has begun with emphasis on maximizing instructional time for all students in literacy, mathematics, and writing. Our K-5 teachers have begun taking the Academic Differentiation course by Kristina Andren, PsyD, NCSP, and Susan Jarmuz-Smith, MS, BCBA. This is a three- part workshop series for teachers that involves practical teaching applications and techniques to manage student behavior, maintain high expectations for all students, and differentiate instruction in a varied and rich fashion.
John Paige and Cherie White, our two part-time Curriculum Coordinator and Administrative Consultant are earnestly energizing our teachers K to 12 to continue the hard work and heavy lifting of updating and upgrading various content areas to better meet the standards. They oversee our Curriculum Review Cycle and are both focused like a laser on keeping our curriculum current, rigorous, and relevant.
Mr. Paige is introducing, through the Rubicon Atlas software program and trainers for teachers, a means for better manipulating and organizing curriculum to meet teacher and district needs. Mrs. White is working closely with teachers and principals on development and important common assessments at various grade levels.
The Brunswick School Department is sharing the cost with S.A.D. # 15 (Gray-New Gloucester) of a course for administrators, department heads, and teacher leaders on teacher/administrator observation and evaluations. The Skillful Leader: Analyzing Teaching For Student Results is being taught by Professor Marcia Booth, from Jon Saphier’s group, known as the Research For Better Teaching in Acton, Massachusetts. This is a 3 graduate credit course being taken by 13 Brunswick administrators, department heads and teacher leaders, and 15 participants from S.A.D. # 15. This course will involve the use of two major books, a large handbook, many homework assignments, and intense practice in teacher/principal observation and evaluation to improve student learning. Professor Booth will observe and critique every participant ‘s skill level in terms of knowledge of learning theory, practical application, and skill at observing and providing meaningful and relevant feedback to classroom teachers and principals. We are working on the new Teacher/Principal Evaluation System and this training and practice will enable us to be confident in our ability to improve instruction. We have joined a collaboration of schools throughout Southern Maine that is working on the Kim Marshall Summative Evaluation Rubric as a means of assessing teacher effectiveness. We will attend 10 sessions with professional colleagues from Lake Region, Yarmouth, Falmouth, Saco, Berwick (SAD # 35), Kittery, RSU 23, SAD 60, SAD 61, and SAD 53. This group has already persuaded and changed the Department of Education’s initial position that the Kim Marshall approach did not meet all of the State’s requirements, but after last year’s work on developing “curriculum crosswalks” required by the State, the State has now approved this model as being acceptable for meeting the requirements of the Department of Education.
As a footnote, the Administrative Team is reading as a book study A Repair Kit For Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades By Ken O’ Connor.
A lot is happening this year for Staff Development!