The “Oh the Places We Will Go” professional development series at Varnett Public Schools started the New Year off with a huge surprise for its academic staff. The sessions on Monday were led by Varnett teachers instead of out-of-town consultants.
The academic coaches assisted the session leaders in developing all-inclusive workshops for teachers designed to teach them math and reading strategies. By all-inclusive, we mean the teachers not only learned new innovative strategies, but participated in make-and-take sessions as well, enabling them to begin using the strategies when students return to school on January 5.The teachers were grouped by grade level and received both math and reading training.
Kindergarten and first-grade teachers got to do hands-on training in creating centers while second-and third-grade teachers learned activities that encourage critical thinking through interactive notebooks and anchor charts. The fourth- and fifth-grade teachers dug deep into STAAR testing strategies that enhance the students' skill set in all academic areas.
The teacher assistants, interventionists, physical education teachers and librarians participated as well. They were strategically placed in various training sessions to ensure everyone on every campus received math and reading strategy training. Overall, it was a very productive day for the Varnett Public Schools with ery positive teacher feedback evaluations validating the district's decision to allow the teachers to lead the teachers.
"We are all in this together," Dr. Margaret Stroud, Varnett's interim superintendent, told the staff. She said areas of focus for the second semester include attendance, building relationships and ESL and special education.
Peter McConnell contributed