HANNIBAL – An investment in professional development within the Hannibal Central School District has taken teaching to the next level and translated into innovative strategies and successful outcomes in the classroom.
Educators have participated in conferences, seminars and trainings that encourage best practices across all subject areas.
The professional development opportunities have been provided through partnerships with SUNY Oswego, the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation, the New York State Education Department and other education-centered institutions.
“We have a broad range of professional development happening at all grade levels – from the elementary level through high school,” said Superintendent Donna Fountain. “These opportunities are changing outcomes and we are seeing positive results.”
To monitor progress and keep school officials abreast of how the professional development opportunities are translating into student achievement in the classroom, a Professional Development Advisory Committee meets three times a year.
During its recent meeting, the committee received updates from facilitators and administrators.
“There’s a range of support going on and we’re putting a structure in place that’s helping to support the implementation plan overall,” said Auddie Mastroleo, a literacy consultant who facilitates professional development for the district. “We’ve done a lot of one-on-one work with teachers about differentiating lesson plans within the (Common Core) modules. We’re looking at ways to make sure we’re meeting the needs of all students while still following the modules.”
In addition to the development offered in English language arts, educators are also learning about the benefits of co-teaching and co-planning. Other efforts include working on ways to get students to incorporate instructional vocabulary from the modules into their writing.
According to Hannibal High School Principal Stephen Dunn, the professional development that has taken place at the secondary level has had a noticeable impact on teachers and the learning tools they use in the classroom. “Some of this material is very progressive, and our staff members have shared what they’ve learned with other people in the building. It’s really great to see.”
Echoing Dunn’s sentiments, Fairley Elementary School Principal Joseph Musa noted that teachers in his building have received periodic professional development during two-hour sessions.
These opportunities, Musa said, have sparked great conversation about questioning, depth of knowledge and reaching all learners.
“According to research, teachers ask about 400 questions a day,” Musa said. “We’re encouraging them to change that with quality over quantity. Some teachers have already changed their methods and are having the kids do a lot of the questioning. We want the students to be asking higher-level questions and we’re seeing that happen already.”