February 15, 2016
Happy New Year from the Teaching and Learning Department! We are excited for 2016 and look forward to a year of learning and growth. On December 14-15, 2015, the Teaching and Learning Department met to discuss current research on professional learning for administrators and teachers, reviewed department data, and planned for summer training.
Our department read the New Teacher Project’s Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development (August 2015). We also read an article by Mike Schmoker entitled, It’s Time to Restructure Teacher Professional Development (Education Week, October 20, 2015). These two resources provided us background knowledge necessary to have rich conversations about how we are currently doing business in our department and what practices we need to reevaluate as we move forward with planning professional learning opportunities for ESU 10 schools in the future.
Throughout the two-day session, we reviewed ESU 10 Schools NeSA testing results, ESU 10 workshop attendance by school data, and Bright Bytes data. Our goal was to find areas of academic strength and weakness in our school districts so we can provide professional learning opportunities to close these achievement gaps. Next, we analyzed which schools are asking us to facilitate on-site training and which schools are sending teachers to our trainings at ESU 10. This data helps us reach out to schools who are not utilizing our department’s services. Finally, we reviewed Bright Bytes data to determine what technology supports our school districts need. This data collection and analysis will continue to ensure that we are providing products and services that our school districts need.
We concluded our meetings by brainstorming and planning for summer professional learning opportunities. Based on need, we are bringing in two national experts in mathematics to provide training to our secondary and elementary math teachers. We will also be providing training in leadership, data analysis, reading, writing, classroom management/behavior, technology, and others yet to be determined.
The Teaching and Learning Department believes it is essential for us to go beyond discussions into action. We are working hard to have conversations based on data to meet our school districts’ needs. The next step is for us to put these conversations into action steps. We have created our first action plan with outlined steps to meet our department goal:
ESU 10 Teaching and Learning Department will improve communication with stakeholders.
-by Denise O'Brien, Teaching and Learning Director