In an ongoing commitment to further enhance the quality of education in the community, Washington Court House City Schools recently engaged in two days of comprehensive professional development for its faculty and staff. The sessions focused on advancing teaching methodologies and fostering collaboration among teachers to create an enriched learning environment for students.
K-5 English Language Arts Teachers Elevate Instruction with CKLA Strengthening Practice
A highlight of the first day was the specialized training for K-5 English Language Arts (ELA) teachers, centered around the implementation of key lesson routines to enhance their proficiency in Amplify CKLA instruction with Bobbie Barrier. The Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program, spanning Preschool through Grade 5, equips teachers with tools to teach reading, writing, listening, and speaking, while also nurturing students' vocabulary and knowledge across various domains such as literature, world and American history, and the sciences.
A 16-year veteran of elementary education, Bobbie Barrier is currently the President of the Kentucky Reading Association.
During the professional development session, teachers engaged in practical exercises to reinforce their understanding of essential CKLA lesson routines. They left the training armed with practical guidelines, enabling them to seamlessly integrate these routines into their classrooms. The collaborative element was emphasized, as teachers worked together in teams to apply the newly acquired knowledge, fostering a culture of shared learning and continuous improvement.
3-5 Math/Science and 6-12 All Content Areas Focus on "Keys to Vocabulary"
Another pivotal training was dedicated to 3-5 Math/Science teachers and 6-12 educators across all content areas with Dr. Ivetha Witherspoon. The session, titled "Keys to Vocabulary," introduced the Key Vocabulary Routine—a meticulously designed approach that combines direct and indirect instructional practices proven to be highly effective in expanding student vocabulary across subjects.
Dr. Witherspoon is a former elementary and middle school educator, where she tough intensive reading and coached teachers around improving their reading instructional practices.
Teachers learned to implement a range of activities, including previewing vocabulary before reading, teaching words by relating them to background knowledge, and employing various techniques such as categorizing, semantic mapping, semantic feature analysis, and scaling. The routine also delved into the selection of specific words for in-depth teaching, the use of vocabulary templates (such as Frayer, Concept Definition Map, and two-column notes), generating user-friendly definitions, leveraging context to decipher unfamiliar words, and utilizing word parts (roots, prefixes, suffixes) for meaning.
By adopting the Key Vocabulary Routine, teachers can provide students with a consistent and effective approach to vocabulary instruction, ensuring a seamless transition from grade to grade and subject to subject. The routine also fosters word consciousness in the classroom, promoting a deeper understanding and appreciation of language.
K-12 Faculty and Staff Engage with Discussions of “This Little Light”
After a day and a half of specialized training, our faculty and staff came together to conclude the district’s fall professional development sessions with Dr. Dave Schmittou at the Historic Washington Auditorium.
Dr. Schmittou is a former professor of Educational Leadership at Central Michigan University, an elementary school principal, middle school principal, assistant principal, coach, and teacher. He earned the 2014 Michigan Administrator of the Year, 2018 College Educator of the Year, and is the author of many books.
Speaking on the theme of “This Little Light,” Dr. Schmittou led an interactive dialogue that introduced topics and tools to encourage and equip the staff to continue to engage, inspire, and grow throughout the remainder of the school year.
Dr. Tom Bailey, Superintendent, shared his enthusiasm about the sessions. "Investing in our educators is an investment in the future of our students and our community. The commitment shown by our teachers to enhance their skills will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the educational experience we provide," Dr. Bailey remarked.
The professional development days reflect WCHCS ongoing dedication to fostering a culture of continuous growth and ensuring that educators are equipped with the latest tools and methodologies to deliver high-quality education to every student in the community.