By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo teachers had a long list of choices as they attended numerous training sessions this week.
The school district ended the year with its first May Institute. Administrators, teachers and assistant teachers chose from about 125 different sessions on topics that ranged from effective teaching in Social Studies to understanding poverty to making podcasts to using art in their classrooms.
“I’m gaining a lot that I can take back to the classroom,” said Joyner second-grade teacher Callie Spivey. “You can choose them based on your own needs.”
Most sessions lasted two hours, and teachers had to complete 12 hours of training over the four days.
The format was different than years past when nearly all the teachers at one school or in one department would attend the same session. This time, teachers were able to personalize their schedules.
“I’ve enjoyed every one I’ve been in because I was able to choose it,” said Carver first-grade teacher Carolyn Beasley.
Lindsay Brett, who directs the Positive Behavior Supports program at Tupelo Middle School, led a training on Thursday afternoon about creating informational and motivational videos for students, staff and parents. She spoke about Gladys, a character she has created to make her videos more humorous.
Although the district did bring in outside experts, many of the sessions were led by Tupelo educators.
“It has given teachers in our district confidence they are experts in their own field,” Brett said, adding it also gives teachers colleagues they can call on if they have questions during the year.
Tupelo Schools Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Leigh Mobley said the first year of the institute went smoothly and that the district looks forward to making it better next year. She credited the members of the curriculum department who worked hard to plan the institute.
“We had online evaluations, and I’ll spend time analyzing which sessions had the best reviews and which ones were not as relevant,” she said.