ARLINGTON — Classrooms were packed at Haller Middle School on Aug. 21-22, though they weren’t students who filled the desks — they were teachers.
Arlington Public Schools offered the second Summer Academy for teachers to undergo training on new curriculum standards, education tools, behavior management and more.
A total of 388 teachers signed up for one or more sessions during the two-day voluntary training seminar and took advantage of the opportunity to be the ones raising their hands and asking questions.
“Everything is related to what they are using in the classroom,” said Andrea Conley, public information coordinator for Arlington Public Schools. “We chose the Danielson Instructional Framework to evaluate our staff — from administrators, teachers and even our superintendent. It’s an ongoing framework to allow specific feedback for teachers, so we have a number of sessions discussing the components of that framework. We have a session on teaching with iPads in the classroom — which has gotten to be very popular, especially for our elementary students. We have a class on teaching with love and logic, which helps those in the behavior program empower students to take responsibility for their behavior. All the sessions pertain to their needs in the classroom.”
The Danielson Instructional Framework is one of the evaluation frameworks adopted by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for use in Washington, and is aligned with the state’s evaluation criteria.
“We are continually helping our teachers understand what the new evaluations will be,” said Conley. “We want to show them, ‘Here’s what the evaluation will be and here’s what you can do to develop supportive learning.’”
The district is also focusing on maintaining the common core state standards which were adopted by the state of Washington in 2011 for full implementation in the 2014-15 school year. Forty-five states have adopted the common core standards which aim to prepare students for college or the workforce, and maintain consistency in educational standards across the nation.
The summer academy offered three sessions digging deeper into the common core, with ideas on incorporating required texts and curriculum in each classroom. New science standards have been adopted, with three years to implementation, so teachers participating in the session on the new standards got a preview of what was to come.
In addition to the class on teaching with iPads, the academy offered sessions on technology as an instrument for teaching — including Google Docs, Moodle websites, QR codes and the IEP online.
“All of this new technology can be a great tool in the classroom, so we wanted to give teachers and opportunity to learn the basics for each program,” said Conley.
In addition to those sessions, the academy offered training on implementing “I can” statements as a measure of progress in the classroom, behavior management training for special education staff and CPR/AED/First Aid training.
“We are taking all of this information to the next level and giving teachers a chance to ask questions and be prepared for the school year,” said Conley. “All of these sessions are specific to our district and show how to implement each in classrooms here in Arlington. It’s really a great way to get the teachers ready for the new school year.”
Teachers will be back in the classroom on Wednesday, Aug. 28, while students return for their first day of school on Wednesday, Sept. 4, with grades 10-12 starting on Sept. 5. For more information on the Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluation criteria and more, visit the OSPI website at www.k12.wa.us.