Teachers and staff of School District 72 are participating in book clubs and other professional development activities in large numbers.
Last school year, 300 educators, administrators and educational assistants participated in a book club. Many of the book choices had to do with the new curriculum as well as the changes the district is seeing when it comes to education.
“It has created lots of collaboration and support as teachers try some of these new things,” said Nevenka Fair, assistant superintendent.
Last year a new grant called the Aboriginal Role Model or Elder program was introduced. Fair said 19 teachers applied for the grant to bring in a representative from a First Nations community to better address the Aboriginal ways of knowing that are part of the new curriculum.
“This role model grant, they talk about how some of those outcomes, some of those ideas might be best supported by actually having an elder come to the classroom,” she said.
The teacher mentorship program is also continuing. Beginner teachers are paired with more experienced teachers for support, guidance and help in the classroom if need be.
The professional development days scattered throughout the calendar year are another time for teachers to get together, sometimes even between schools, and share ideas and offer support. There was close to 30 workshops last year.
It gives the teachers the chance to explore big ideas and discuss how to implement them in the classroom.
Fair said last year there was also 40 teachers involved in a Rethinking Math course.
“Not only do they come and learn and collaborate together, they are provided side by side support between each of those sessions in the classroom by a coach or an instructional support teacher,” she said. “The feedback from that is really excellent.”
Trustee Joyce McMann, said she was both excited and comforted by the adult learning efforts. Fair agreed. She said that to change student learning, the board will have to continue supporting professional development.