Educators Share New Ideas
TAHLEQUAH, OK – While students take the day off, teachers and staff at Tahlequah Public Schools are still at the grind stone further developing their skills and sharing new ideas with one another.
This past Monday, TPS hosted a Professional Development day for nine area school districts. The day began with a morning keynote presentation by Dr. Phil Warrick, Associate Vice President of Marzano Research.
“Educating kids is really tough,” said Dr. Warrick. “But, once we get very clear about what do we want our kids to learn and how we are going to know if they’ve really learned it, we can be a lot better at instructing students.”
Marzano Research provides effective and accessible instructional strategies, leadership strategies, and classroom assessment strategies that are always at the forefront of best practice.
Lisa Presley, Superintendent for TPS, expressed her satisfaction in having Dr. Warrick come speak.
“This professional development was an excellent opportunity to receive instructional strategies from Marzano Research for our district staff,” said Presley. “Particularly interesting, is the strategy of students tracking their own progress and the significant 32 percentile point gain in their achievement when tracking their own progress. I believe this to be an underused strategy with huge potential to raise student achievement.”
The Oklahoma Schools Advisory Council in cooperation with Tahlequah Public Schools hosted the event. Paul Hurst, Executive Director of the OSAC, hoped educators would find something useful from the event.
“My main hope is for [teachers and administrators] to find something useful from Dr. Warrick’s presentation and take it back to their collaborative team and be able to implement it immediately,” said Hurst.
Susan VanZant, Principal of Greenwood Elementary praised her teachers for the efforts they are already implementing.
“[Dr. Warrick’s] presentation confirmed we are on the right track with our [Professional Learning Community] groups,” said VanZant. “Many of the grade levels in our district already use data on a continual basis to meet the needs of students.”
In the afternoon, Tahlequah Public School staff could choose from several teacher-led break-out sessions, which included topics ranging from whiteboard activities and small group lessons to more advanced sessions on new technology such as 3D printers and Google Glass. Jason Proctor, Oklahoma Teacher of Year, hosted a session, as well.
Lisa Williams, Librarian at Cherokee Elementary School, felt educators were given variety of sessions from which to choose.
“I felt like there were enough options that I was able to find something relevant to me,” she said. “I learned how to build whiteboard lessons and plan to start creating my own this week.”
Tahlequah Schools’ mission statement is “removing obstacles, achieving results” and Dr. Warrick concurs.
“That’s the key,” said Dr. Warrick, “giving students a chance to see something they can be successful at, because if they can be a little bit successful, they’ll hang around and try and be a lot successful.”
While this was the last professional development day for this school year, Tahlequah Public Schools plans to continue to provide professional development events in the future.