Barb Coppens, SIS Data Tech PowerSchool, conducts a Chrome Lab for classified employees.
Before thousands of students ever walked through the doors for the start of school on August 13, educators and support staff in the Westerville City School District engaged in a number of professional development opportunities.
Teachers packed the classrooms at Westerville Central High School on Friday, August 9, Westerville Educator Day, where more than 200 courses were offered. Those who have demonstrated expertise in particular areas led many of the sessions.
Sixth grade teachers and middle school administrators met to share ideas on how to best engage students as they return to school, the use of FLEX time, and common communication protocols and expectations for their team. As the district enters year three of the Middle School Design process, teaming is being implemented in grade six. This was a priority of the Design team, primarily because it is critical for connectivity for students (people to people, across content areas, adolescent learning needs connections, and increased communication and support for students.)
Dr. Denise Snowden, who has been facilitating this work, led a panel discussion on the use of FLEX (Flexible Learning EXperiences) time. The panel members traveled to Cuyahoga Heights over the summer to collaborate with building and classroom leaders who had implemented this time several years ago. The Westerville team left with ideas of key principles for successful flexible learning experiences including logistics of utilizing available time and supporting the whole child, including balancing both academic and social-emotional learning. The entire district middle school team will continue to meet throughout the school year to reflect on the implementation process as they continue to refine and expand ways in which to support dynamic learning experiences for students.
Support staff gathered at Westerville South High School for courses in subjects including PowerSchool, transportation, accounting, health aide training, google forms, fees and report cards.
Professional development is a valuable way for staff to grow as instructors and a cost-effective way to learn from each other, identify best practices, and implement initiatives across the school district that have resulted in positive academic gains for pupils.