TST BOCES has been working with educators throughout the region to provide in-house, job-embedded professional development to help teachers master their craft.
These Regional Demonstration Classrooms take place during the normal school day, allowing visiting teachers to observe promising practices as they unfold in a live teaching environment with students engaged in learning.
“I felt the idea of a demonstration classroom in our area was innovative and fresh,” said Melody Wilder, a fourth grade math teacher at Dryden. “Workshops can be beneficial in so many ways;However, the opportunity to visit classrooms in our region and observe exceptional teaching practices and then meet with colleagues to collaborate about those practices is such a unique and valuable way to learn and grow as an educator for all parties involved.”
The initiative works to network teachers throughout area districts to think regionally in developing the best possible learning environment for all students. This regional collaboration helps all teachers involved to maximize their own improvement while also helping to share useful practices to improve student learning and achievement.
TST Turning Point program ELA teacher Laura Havill said, “by opening yourself and your practice to analysis, even when that is a little daunting, you can grow and develop even after 20 years in the classroom.”
Two specific areas of pedagogy are highlighted in the Regional Demonstration Classroom: use of “learning targets”– instructional outcomes — and quality questioning techniques.
“Thinking more carefully about the questions I ask my students or the specific language I incorporate into my learning targets has helped me to elevate engagement and participation for all my students,” Boynton sixth grade humanities teacher Cara Salibrici said.
This classroom-based coaching model is facilitated by TST Instructional Specialists Allison Peet (Mathematics) and Jennifer Gondek (Inclusive Education), as well as the Regional Coordinator of Curriculum and PD, Beth Dryer. The instructional coaches work with the demonstration teachers throughout the school year to gather data, support reflective practice and provide feedback to improve student learning. The instructional coach also facilitates classroom visits, helping to guide the pre-observation and post-observation discussions between the host teacher and visiting educators.
Each Regional Demonstration classroom teacher will receive a $500 stipend at the end of his/her/their annual appointment. The stipend is provided through the Teacher Professional Development Network, a NYSED funded grant project housed in the School of Education at SUNY Cortland.
The teachers who participated this year were:
Liz Kozlowski (Newfield – ninth grade ELA)
Gina Amici (ICSD, Boynton sixth grade humanities)
Lisa Sahasrabudhe (ICSD, Belle Sherman fifth grade ELA)
Melody Wilder (Dryden Elementary fourth grade math)
Ashley Rogers (Dryden Elementary fourth grade math)
Bill Begeal (Trumansburg sixth grade science)
Cara Salibrici (Boynton sixth grade humanities)
Tara Caiza (ICSD, Belle Sherman fourth grade ELA)
Kathy DeLucia (ICSD, Cayuga Heights fifth grade math)
Laura Havill (TST Turning Point Multi-Age ELA)
Kathleen Cole (ICSD, Boynton eighth grade math)
Chris Barley (ICSD, BJM fourth grade science)
Kimberly Batzer (Groton Kindergarten ELA)
Regional Demonstration Classrooms will continue throughout the 2017-2018 school year; application materials will be distributed in September of 2017. Anyone who would like more information about the initiative is encouraged to contact Beth Dryer, Regional Coordinator of Curriculum and PD at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607)257-1551, ext.1040.