The Common Core Standards allow complete flexibility to states, districts, schools and teachers to choose specific instructional approaches for achieving student goals and expectations. With this instructional freedom comes the responsibility to provide high-quality, relevant professional development for our teachers. From the moment that California first adopted the standards, we began to refocus our professional development on teaching methods and curriculum development that support the Common Core. Since that time, administrators, teachers and trustees have attended Common Core-based workshops in mathematics and English language arts.
In addition to our Common Core work, the district has implemented a team-based, peer-supported system for technology training. With this system, teachers with particular enthusiasm and interest in technology have attended workshops and conferences on educational technology and then brought that experience and training back to their colleagues.
Administrators and teachers have attended workshops with Phil Daro, one of the lead writers of the Math Common Core Standards, to become informed about and prepared to apply the Common Core mathematics standards. All of our elementary and middle school math teachers have worked with a California Math Project consultant to revisit our district’s essential standards and begin their alignment to the Common Core Standards.
Every teacher and administrator in our district has participated in Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) training which focuses on classroom use of high level academic language and literacy. Like the Common Core English language goals, GLAD’s integrated approach brings listening, speaking, reading, and writing into all content areas supporting connections between and among science, social studies, and literature.
This summer the District's 3rd- through 5th-grade teachers were offered a 4-day workshop on skills for teaching writing in the classroom that support the Common Core Standards. Taught by an instructor from Columbia University's Teacher's College, this workshop was developed by the "The Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project," a research and professional development project focused on teaching reading and writing.
Over the past two years, teachers and administrators have attended the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) annual conference and local C.U.E. (Computer Users in Education) conferences offered in the fall and spring. The C.U.E. conferences, which include workshops and presentations on using technology to support student achievement, take place at American Canyon High School in Napa. American Canyon is a future-focused school that offers our teachers a model of how to integrate and implement educational technology and was used as a model for the design of White Hill's new classrooms which are fully wired and technology ready.