OHS staff receives top-notch training during fall break


Christie Forgette

While students were sleeping in last Tuesday, their teachers were hard at work learning new ways to help students excel in the classroom.

On that Tuesday, all Oxford public schools held a professional development day, in association with Fall Break, which was Oct. 12.
A professional development day consists of sessions and activities that help teachers learn new techniques and strategies that they can bring back to their own classrooms.

According to Oxford High Assistant Principal Marni Herrington, there are usually seven professional development days at Oxford schools, and this is one of the first times that it has been held as an extension of Fall Break.

“Most professional development days occur during the beginning and end of the year and also around winter break,” she said.

This particular professional development day included sessions on flipped classroom learning, a lesson about Professional Learning Communities and a session led by Heritage Middle School (Liberty, Missouri) Principal Scott Carr who further explained Response to Intervention (an approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs), which was similar to a seminar that both Carr and OHS Principal Bradley Roberson attended in Missouri over the summer.

Some teachers are assigned to go to certain sessions, while others choose whatever session interests them the most.

Math teacher Rebecca Mann attended the PLC training which she said “focused on what Professional Learning Communities are and how to make them productive and successful to improve student learning.” Mann found this session helpful but wished she could have known the information at the beginning of the year, so she could have put it to use earlier.

“I feel that the session was helpful because we learned ways to work together as department teams to increase student achievement,” Mann said. “However, I feel that it would have been more beneficial for us to have had this training in August instead of at the end of the first semester so that we could have implemented these strategies from the beginning.”

Herrington thinks that these days are beneficial for employees.

“A lot of times teachers and administrators don’t get to see each other because the building is so big, so it is a good time to come together and talk about our profession,” Herrington said.

English teacher Amanda Witt, who attended the flipped classroom session, agrees with Herrington.

“Professional development days are extremely helpful,” she said. “Anytime you have been doing something for several years, fresh ideas always help. Teachers can tweak the information they learn in the sessions and then apply it to their own classrooms.”