Faculty, staff learn on students’ day off

Two teachers work with their Chromebooks while sitting at a circular table.

Liberty Central School students didn’t have to answer the morning bell Friday, Feb. 16, but that was not the case for the faculty and staff.

It was a conference day full of learning and working to improve faculty and staff skills and knowledge to enhance their students’ classroom experience.

“It is important to offer time for our teachers to become students by offering vital professional development opportunities,” Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sullivan said.

The day started in the high school cafeteria with breakfast for all district staff.

Faculty and staff then broke into professional development sessions based on school or job description.

Elementary and middle school teachers started by working on their curriculum maps, which outlines the expectations and standards for each subject and grade level.

A woman stands to the right of screen with a display about educational superheroes as a teacher sits in the foreground
MaryAnn Brittingham presented “Strategies for Working with ‘I Don’t Care’ students, to high school teachers during the Feb. 16 conference day.

At that time, high school staff took part in a workshop with education consultant MaryAnn Brittingham, who focused on working with students who have an “I don’t care” attitude, explaining what is behind it and providing strategies to approach these students with a different mindset

Middle school staff was next for Brittingham, who addressed problems with students whose difficult home lives may impact their behavior in school. She explained methods to de-escalate situations and discussed: “What is under anger?” “Window of tolerance” and “The 3 R’s to assist in de-escalation.”

After lunch, Brittingham then spoke to elementary staff on understanding and handling attention-seeking and manipulative behaviors among students. “Utilizing and Documenting Tier 2 Behavior Interventions in the Classroom; Put the Game on the Table” aimed to help staff decipher the underlying needs behind such behavior and find ways to address them.

Brittingham finished the day working with middle school administration and student services staff on  implementation of strategies and accountability measures.

A group of teachers sit at a circular table working on Chromebooks
Elementary teachers worked collaboratively on curriculum maps during the Feb. 16 Conference Day

Other professional development opportunities included training for new substitutes, teacher assistants and aides, strategies for English Language Learners classrooms, using the DESSA/Aperture social and emotional screener, working with education consultants PLC Associates on Explicit Direct Instruction methods for giving transparent learning targets, breaking down complex concepts and setting up clear instructions for learning and more.

LCSD holds regular conference days to offer faculty and staff professional development in support of the five-year strategic plan. The sessions cover all pillars of the plan — curriculum, coherence, culture and MTSS, or Multi-Tier System of Supports.