Ever wonder what the teachers do on Staff Development Days when your children stay home? Sunnyvale School District is fortunate to not only avoid furlough days, but to offer extensive professional development opportunities to all of its teachers and staff. The district has three Staff Development Days annually; while the students have a day off from school, their teachers, school staff, and administrators receive relevant professional development training. Elementary school teachers also have eight Teacher Learning Days per year when students are dismissed at 12:45PM; the middle schools have a late start one day each week.
Broad areas of Staff Development this year include training in Common Core Curriculum, use of technology as planning and teaching tools, and training on teaching specific subject areas such as reading comprehension, writing, and problem-solving. Each school’s principal and teachers choose a few areas they want to focus on and staff in the Educational Services Department make arrangements for the workshops and presentations at each school site. For instance, on the September 17 Staff Development Day, Lakewood Elementary School’s teachers received training on Leveled Literacy Instruction, a reading program designed to help teachers meet the needs of students at different levels of reading abilities, while teachers at Sunnyvale Middle School worked on Professional Learning Communities, Common Core Curriculum, and grading.
Elementary school teachers will be spending their Teaching Learning Days with their Professional Learning Communities (PLC), sharing valuable information and experiences among each other, continually striving to be more effective teachers and meeting learning needs of all their students.
Staff Development Day training programs are also offered to all paraprofessional staff in the district as well as administrators, school psychologists, nurses, behavior specialists, and after-school program staff. Among other topics, everyone receives training on the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program so that students will experience consistency in reinforcement for proper behavior at school, both during school hours and in after-school programs.
Sunnyvale School District’s Educational Services Department looks forward to a year of productive and enriching Staff Development Day trainings and Teacher Learning Day collaborations which will benefit all district students.
Contributors: Nina Wong-Dobkin and Mala Ahuja