Really, What do you do at “Inservice?”

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a parent in the District.  In our conversation, he told me that he received the notification reminding him of our 1:30 dismissal today for “teacher inservice.”  Next, he asked, “what do you guys do at ‘inservice?’  What is it, really?”  I am so glad he asked!  I am certain that he wasn’t the only parent in the district wondering the same thing.

In our District this year, we have three full days and seven 1:30 dismissals for “teacher inservice,” or professional development. The specific agenda for each session is set by the school administration, with direction and consultation with a committee of five teachers along with the principals, technology director and the superintendent.  The specifics regarding each professional development experience is determined based on a variety of factors.

The early dismissals will follow along with two main sets of priorities.  The first is to build skills in teaching, specifically focused on using technology as a tool for students learning, and the use of real-world, project-based learning experiences for our students in the classroom.  We plan to build these development experiences as collaborative time where we work together to learn from one another.  The second priority is to use our time in the analysis of student achievement data, and then ask that key question… now that we know this, what do we do about it?  We plan to use a variety of data points in order to see where our students are at compared to where we believe that they should be and then work together to design plans to do something about it.  Those plans may be designed for the individual student, for the classroom, grade, or possibly even the school as a whole.

The full-day inservice experiences are designed around a variety of priorities.   Our specific plan for the October 5thfull-day experience is not yet set in stone, but we do know that we will spend our time in three main areas.  We plan to spend about 1/3 of the day taking a deep look at our student achievement data. We plan to dig down into the data standard-by-standard to identify trends in that data to show us strengths and areas for growth within our curriculum.  Another 1/3 of the time will be spent improving our skills in the use of technology to enhance our students’ experience in the classroom, and the last 1/3 of the time will be spent training all staff in first-aid procedures, CPR, the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) that is on-site, the use of epi-pens in case of a severe allergic reaction and also the use of Narcan in the case of an opioid overdose on or near school grounds.

Our intent with respect to professional development is to help our staff to grow in ways that directly have an impact on our students in the classroom.  We are very aware that time spent in training may cause some inconvenience for our families, but we believe that the payoff for that inconvenience is that we become more effective in the classroom.   We appreciate your patience and understanding as we use this time to learn with and from one another as we work to fulfill our mission – to prepare every student to meet the challenges of learning, living and leading in a changing world.

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