Parents and guardians may look at the district calendar and see Superintendent’s Conference Days and understandably, may wonder if this is the best use of school time.
After all, days off can disrupt child care and work schedules. And students perform best with a highly qualified teacher at the front of the class.
So, why are these days part of Liberty’s—and every district’s—yearly calendar?
1) They are required by the New York State Education Department (NYSED); and,
2) Ongoing professional development keeps teachers up-to-date on new research about how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, new curriculum resources and more.
Research shows that teacher quality is the single most powerful influence on a student’s achievement. According to the New York State Education Department, “it is essential to ensure that teachers are provided with ongoing, high quality professional development to sustain and enhance their practice.”
At Liberty, we believe that effective professional development is more than simply sharing new ideas; it also includes a commitment to fully integrate those ideas into the classroom and the school culture.
The district uses professional development days to review state-mandated material such as anti-bullying or safety training. School leaders also use the time to share information on the district’s new technology, to introduce new curriculum and teaching practices or to build staff culture and the culture of a school. Department chairs use this time to go over their curriculum.
Professional development has taken on a more prominent place at Liberty. It keeps teachers up-to-date on new research about how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, new curriculum resources and more.
On Friday, Feb. 16, all teachers attended a district’s Superintendent Conference Day and covered topics from becoming a healthier school district to preparing for an active shooter situation to writing clearer learning objectives.
There was also time for teachers to teach other teachers in the field of technology —sharing what they know, exploring solutions to problems and implementing those solutions in the classroom in a way that benefits our students.
As the district explores an endless list of speakers and topics, administrators focus on those that will directly benefit our students and help them find success in careers and college and to be contributing members of our community.
The next Superintendent’s Conference Day is scheduled for Friday, March 9, weather permitting.