Investment in professional development translates into success for Hannibal schools

When the Hannibal Central School District Board of Education approved the budget for the 2014-2015 school year, board members made it clear that professional development opportunities were a priority.

Judging by recently released state assessments, that investment has already paid off.

Teachers have taken what they’ve learned during professional development offerings and incorporated that knowledge into the classroom.

“We recognize that we have to support the staff to get this kind of achievement,” said Superintendent Donna Fountain. “I’d like to thank the board of education for its commitment to our teachers and, in turn, our students. We couldn’t have participated in professional development offerings without the financial backing.”

Educators have participated in conferences, seminars and trainings that promote teaching strategies and best practices across all subject areas.

The professional development opportunities were provided through partnerships with SUNY Oswego, the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation, the New York State Education Department and other education-centered institutions.

The scope of the offerings is not limited to the primary subject areas, Fountain noted.

“We have a physical education department doing curriculum work with English language arts. Everyone has gotten a very healthy dose of professional development on the Common Core modules and infusing literacy into every curricular area,” she said. “We know that the Common Core works in conjunction with the right professional development; it’s not just the modules themselves. We have the right model of collaboration for our teachers.”

To ensure the district is getting the most out of these opportunities and that communication flows among the different departments, a Professional Development Advisory Committee meets three times a year.

“We know with our professional development plan who is getting what and at what level they’re getting it. It’s nice to have 10 to 12 people in a room together talking about what we’re doing. We are headed in the right direction and it’s not because I feel it, it’s because I see it,” the superintendent said.