Each school year, educators around the world attend or participate in professional learning and development opportunities. These opportunities focus on building the capacity of teachers and leaders to provide a high-quality learning and social experience to students. Professional learning and development leads to stronger student achievement, innovative instructional practices, and deeper understanding of subject matter.
In Lauderdale County, educators are provided with eight days of professional learning throughout the academic year. These days are scheduled at the start of the new academic year and immediately following Winter Break. LCS educators recently attended professional learning from January 4-6, 2023. Here are a few highlights from our recent learning opportunities.
Early Learning (Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 2)
Pre-Kindergarten teachers spent their day learning about Behavior Management, Student Behavior, Maximizing Learning Time and Efficient Routines and Transitions. They also learned about Phonological Awareness for Pre-K students and reviewed curriculum options for the upcoming Pre-K curriculum adoption.
Math (Kindergarten - Grade 5)
Kindergarten through Grade 5 teachers participated in a learning session on the Math Standards and Instructional Focus Documents being released in 2023. This session gave teachers an opportunity to review the changes and additions to the TN State Math Standards for the 2023-24 school year. Teachers also reviewed High Quality Math tasks for alignment with new grade-level standards. They may or may not have played an intense game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to get their brains ready for new learning.
Literacy (Kindergarten- Grade 2)
Kindergarten through Grade 2 teachers spent the afternoon learning from their colleagues about best practices in Foundational Skills Instruction using the book Reading Above the Fray by Julia B. Lindsey.
Elementary and Middle Learning (Grade 3 - Grade 8)
ELA teachers attended a session, “Using the Curriculum to Support the Vision of Excellent Literacy Instruction - Exploring the “Why”! “ This session was focused on the literacy shifts in the TN State Standards and the Instructional Practice Guide tool that helps us identify what these shifts look like in action in the classroom.
Math teachers participated in a learning session on the Math Standards and Instructional Focus Documents being released in 2023. This session gave teachers an opportunity to review the changes and additions to the TN State Math Standards for the 2023-24 school year. Teachers also reviewed High Quality Math tasks for alignment with new grade-level standards.
Science/Social Studies teachers spent the day exploring and utilizing the program, “Generation Genius”. This program will be used to support daily classroom lessons. It is highly engaging and motivational for all students.
Secondary and Career-Technical Learning (Grade 9 - Grade 12)
ELA teachers spent the day reviewing core actions and grounding our work with ELA Guidebooks. Teachers participated as learners in a model Guidebooks lesson, and then reflected as learners and teachers to identify high-leverage approaches to enhance student learning. They also engaged in a student work analysis protocol to identify curriculum-driven supports to enhance student learning. The final hours of the day were spent with teachers engaging collaboratively in the first section of the upcoming Guidebooks Unit and identifying key questions and tasks within a lesson cycle as formative assessments to check for student understanding.
Math teachers spent the day reviewing and identifying key differences between the current and the new Tennessee Academic Math Standards, being released in the 2023 school year. In the session, teachers discussed potential ways to incorporate key aspects of the new standards into teaching and learning this year. They also spent time understanding the Instructional Focus Documents, their purpose, and how they connect with high quality math tasks/instructional materials.
CTE, Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts, & Foreign Language
CTE, Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts, & Foreign Language Teachers participated in two different sessions. Session One - Best Practices: Thinking, Questioning and Problem Solving engaged teachers with best practices and strategies for engaging students in thinking, questioning, and problem solving. Teachers learned about the different types of thinking and specific questioning techniques designed to improve their instruction. Session Two - Reaching the Struggling Learner provided teachers with research and evidence-based instructional strategies and tools that all teachers can use to help struggling students. Some of the topics within the session included multiple intelligences, summarizing techniques, and graphic organizers. Teachers left with an instructional toolkit that will help support all learners in their classrooms.
Special Education (District-wide)
District educators, administrators, and paraprofessionals joined together on Thursday to learn more about the special education services provided to our students as well as the importance of each person's role in supporting these services.
Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 special education educators and staff attended professional development sessions by grade band. Mrs. April Oliver presented a learning activity project to Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 6 educators. The Transition School to Work team and Grades 7 through 12 educators planned spring semester activities. Activities include work-based learning opportunities at Halls and Ripley High Schools as well as a spring trip to Smyrna to tour the Vocational Rehabilitation Center. The TSW team and educators collaborated on instructional materials and planning for the upcoming semester.
Federal Programs (Districtwide)
Each year, English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers conduct a federally required training for staff districtwide. This training addresses the identification of ESL students, modifications for ESL students in the classroom, WIDA annual assessment testing and data interpretation.
The McKinney-Vento training is an annual federally-required training regarding homeless student services and supports. School guidance counselors were initially trained by Samantha Culver, Director of Federal Projects. Training to all staff occurred through the state approved powerpoint.