Lots of training planned for Tupelo teachers in 2011

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo teachers will spend more than 30 hours undergoing training during the upcoming semester.
Beginning with a meeting Monday, district educators will attend nine training sessions over the next five months. The goal is to help both administrators and teachers improve their craft.
“We can’t make teaching simple because it is a very complex process, and it takes a lot of knowledge and skills to make it happen the way it needs to happen,” said Tupelo Deputy Superintendent Diana Ezell.
“Teachers need to spend as much time learning as they do teaching, and we need to provide them the time to do that.”
On Monday, teachers and principals will learn about the rubric that administrators will use to evaluate the district’s teachers.
The district is using a new system of evaluation provided by JBHM Education Group. Its goal is to help teachers see their strengths and weaknesses so they can improve, Ezell said.
Educators will also receive on Monday a user name that will allow them to log into the new iCore program recently purchased by the district. That program will give them access to resources to use for teaching and planning lessons.
Ezell said that teachers will also have time on Monday to prepare their classrooms for the new semester, which begins on Tuesday.
The other eight training sessions this semester will be part of the district’s early-release days. Students will dismiss between 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. – the time varies at each school – and educators will stay on their campus to learn more about a specific topic.
Those lessons will last about 31⁄2 hours each and will be led by principals, district administrators and members of the district’s school improvement department.
Early release days this semester will be held on Jan. 12, Jan. 20, Feb. 9, Feb. 23, March 9, March 30, April 13 and May 16. An early release day originally scheduled for April 27 was canceled because it conflicted with state standardized tests.
Topics for those sessions include identifying similarities and differences, summarizing and note taking, graphic organizers, teaching vocabulary and reinforcing effort and providing recognition.
The district has already held one early-release day on Dec. 8. At that meeting, they received a review of the curriculum audit the district underwent last school year. Auditor Eve Proffitt spoke on how the district could build on the lessons of the audit, and superintendent Randy Shaver spoke about achieving excellence and assuring achievement for all students.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.