Quality teaching impacts a student’s success. Therefore, professional development is essential to ensure that every teacher has the opportunity to receive high-quality professional development and in turn every child has the opportunity to receive quality teaching. Every year teachers are required to do more, know more, and implement more. Professional development provides teachers with the support that they need to enhance their teaching and increase student learning.
Sweetwater County School District #1 has implemented a professional development plan to guide professional development opportunities for SCSD#1. Below a listing of professional development opportunities offered so far this year as well as the SCSD#1 Professional Development Plan are available for download.
Unified Classroom Training: Grading and Assessment Basics
Professional development trainings for certified staff focused on supporting learners new to both Unified Classroom and PowerTeacher Pro. Teachers were introduced on how to use PowerSchool's integrated solution for managing the classroom. Specifically, in the Grading components, becoming familiar with Unified Classroom navigation and how the solution tools provide information about student
needs and progress. Thus, allowing staff to view student information quickly and engage students in activities that extend the instructional day. Additionally, staff learned how to create categories and assignments, use grading features, such as entering grades and calculating term success, in addition, to viewing ways to improve school-home communication.
Finally, staff learned to use Unified Classroom Assessment to work with assessment items, features, and create an assignment for the assessment, proctor the assessment, and review the results.
PLC Professional Development
Professional Learning Communities
In alignment with the District Strategic Plan to nurture a positive learning climate and culture, all schools are attending training and implementing Professional Learning Communities (PLC) within the district. Three training sessions will be held throughout the academic year with the first occurring on September 10-11, 2018. During this time, academic directors and coordinators, administrators and teachers learned the components of the PLC process. The architects of the PLC process, Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Rebecca DuFour designed the PLC process around three big ideas and four critical questions that placed learning, collaboration and results at the forefront of education. Sweetwater School District Number One is committed to the PLC process and sustains the three big ideas.
- A focus on learning: teachers focus on learning as the fundamental purpose of the school rather than on teaching as the fundamental purpose.
- A collaborative culture: Teachers work together in teams interdependently to achieve a common goal or goals for which members are mutually accountable.
- A results orientation: Team members are constantly seeking evidence of the results they desire – high levels of student learning.
Session two of the training will occur on January 14-15 and Session three will occur on May 6-7, 2018. Each training will focus on four critical questions (DuFour et al., 2016)
- What do we want all students to know and be able to do?
- How will we know if students learn it?
- How will we respond when some students do not learn?
- How will we extend the learning for students who are already proficient?
Sweetwater County School District #1 will nurture a positive learning climate and culture.
6 - 12 Science Professional Development
Ongoing Professional Development for 6-12 Science Teachers
Scientists from the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center University of Wyoming are providing professional development for 6th -12th grade science teachers in SCSD#1. With the new expectations for student learning in the Wyoming science standards, teachers are challenged to consider different teaching strategies when addressing these standards. Using ideas from the training, science teachers are learning how to use the "Model of the Three Dimensions of Science Learning” (model link) when designing lessons around phenomena. The three dimensions are Disciplinary Core Ideas, Cross Cutting Concepts, Scientific and Engineering Practices. This model helps guide teachers in how to use the three dimensions and how they interact during lesson development.
Phenomena and story lines were also investigated by teachers. Our teachers explored the phenomena of red sunsets using jars of water, milk, flashlight, red laser pointers and green laser pointers. The teachers documented their initial understanding by drawing a model on paper. After investigating, they had the opportunity to update their additional learnings on their models. Brainstorming for additional phenomena ideas and story lines were part of the training. When choosing phenomenon to integrate into units, teachers should consider the criteria of relevance, the complexity and the context.
Teachers planned lessons and will be implementing the lessons in the classrooms before the next meeting date. The lessons are designed around phenomena and story lines. The teachers will bring back an artifact and classroom experiences for the next training date. Additional training dates are in December, February and March.
Grade Level ELA Professional Development
English Language Arts Training
Second and Third grade teachers met on October 15th and 16th, 2018 to continue training on English Language Arts. During this timeframe teachers were reminded of the research and importance of reaching proficiency in reading by 3rd grade. They participated in the following:
- Examining the district ELA data, grade level and school data on WY-TOPP
- Identifying standards that students had met and not met in relation to WY-TOPP performance
- Sharing successes and notable practices impacting performance (Strong PLC’s, use of ReadyGEN, and alignment to curriculum maps, use of ReadyGEN assessments, use of WY-TOPP modular as pre/posttest to select strategy groups, writing in an online format, and the importance of using Hattie’s research to guide instructional practices)
- Setting goals
- Reconnecting with ReadyGEN resources and such as the Scaffolded Strategy handbook and Intervention handbook
- Planning time with their PLC to examine data and make instructional decisions
- In addition, we celebrated the District ELA performance at 3rd grade ranking above the state average
Continued trainings will occur:
Second Grade: January 21st, February 19th, and April 9th
Third Grade: January 22nd, February 20th, and April 10th
Sweetwater County School District #1 Professional Development Opportunities 2018-2019
Professional Development Resources
Professional Development Survey Results