North Smithfield Professional Development Mission Statement: The mission of North Smithfield Teacher Professional Development is to empower faculty through relevant learning experiences to enhance the quality of standards based instruction in order to improve student achievement. North Smithfield Schools is committed to providing resources and programs that actively engage teachers in continuous professional growth strengthening pedagogical content knowledge through comprehensive, research-based, job-embedded learning experiences. .............................................................................................................................. North Smithfield Professional Development Plan: The primary goal of North Smithfield professional development programming is to enhance the quality of teaching and leadership in order to improve student achievement. Local and Title II funded activities support our system and structures of professional development. In order to target the needs of the school district, a comprehensive needs assessment is conducted to determine goals, develop programs and allocate resources. Throughout the 18-19 school year all teachers in the district participate in multiple surveys providing feedback about professional development sessions and offerings as well as identifying preferences/recommendations for future professional development activities. These responses are compiled and reviewed by the Professional Development Advisory Committee.The Professional Development Advisory Committee plays an important role in identifying the district needs. The Professional Development Advisory Committee (PDAC) is a volunteer team of K-12 stakeholders (teachers, administrators and parents) that meets quarterly to help develop and refine the district’s professional development. The team has worked over the years to revamp the system and structure of professional development which has received positive feedback. In the Spring of 2019, the PDAC reviewed teacher survey responses, district goals (Strategic Plan) and student achievement data. The PDAC then developed initiatives that aligned with district goals and feedback creating another survey that the PDAC takes to finally identify goals and initiatives for the 19-20 school year. Priority areas identified included: Community of Practice- Observing lessons and Sharing Strategies, Professional Learning Communities, and Teacher Leader Opportunities, New Teacher Mentor Program. Professional learning activities were developed based on the breadth of information compiled meeting the prioritized needs that will have the greatest impact on student learning. All activities are aligned to the North Smithfield Strategic Plan:
Goal #1 All students will achieve high standards, annual growth, and graduate college-and career-ready as independent, creative, and contributing members of society. Strategies:
Align all curricula to State and National Standards to ensure clear expectations for what students should know and be able to do.
Adopt high quality instructional materials to support curricular alignment to State and National Standards.High-quality instructional materials are those materials that are designed to help build a teacher’s content knowledge, provide guidance to inform lesson planning, and offer structures to support collaboration with other teachers.
Employ research-based instructional best practices:
Integrate technology systems which support anytime, anywhere access to curriculum, learning resources, communication, and collaboration.
Align student assessments to State and National Standards and curricula. Analyze and use the assessment data to monitor student progress and inform instruction.
Provide coordinated intervention with strategic supports that are responsive to individual student need (“multi-tiered system of supports”) based on data.
The North Smithfield Mentor Program not only focuses on improving the skills and knowledge of new to district teachers, but also; aids in recruitment and retention of teachers. New teachers are assigned a mentor that will promote the growth and development of the beginning teacher. Mentor teachers are selected for new teachers typically have five years of teaching experience, and demonstrate mastery of pedagogy, content and show a commitment to professional learning. The mentor meets with the teacher throughout the year and also provides multiple opportunities for the new teacher to observe veteran teachers.
The focus of the Community of Practice initiative is to share strategies and practices educators utilize in order to teach the challenging academic standards. By visiting other classrooms teachers will observe the K-12 articulated curriculum aligned to state and national standards. NS curriculum documents define common core state standards, essential skills and knowledge, vocabulary and assessments to meet the needs of all students. A variety of assessments are used to measure students’ knowledge and skills. Professional Learning Communities initiatives have been expanded as working in PLC's has strengthened culture, created a vehicle for common language, strategies and accountability. The work aligns with the RI Quality PD Standards: Quality teaching is informed by individual, school and district goals to deepen educators content knowledge, provide them with researched based instructional strategies to assist all students in meeting rigorous academic standards.
The goal of the Teacher Leaders program is to implement a comprehensive teacher leader program that will meet the needs of all grade level educators and are aligned with state and local initiatives, as well as, establish a community of educators that willingly and openly share resources and ideas. Three Grade Level/Team Leaders will plan, coordinate and deliver (standards-based) professional development activities focused on engaging students, best-practices for instruction and using data to inform instruction. Also, teacher leaders will provide support as grade level teachers develop the essential skills, knowledge and experience that will result in high quality education for North Smithfield students.
................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. In addition to in-district PD, our faculty frequently attends and participates in a wide variety of out-of-district professional development opportunities. Here are a few examples:
Ms. Gianfrocco participated in a week long professional development teacher training institute designed to support all aspects of AP courses, including AP methodology, curriculum, class assignments and examinations as well as providing strategies for teaching AP courses.
Mrs. Hubacz, NSES reading teacher, will be participating in a conference focusing on improving instruction in the area of phonemic awareness, sight words and developing student symbol imagery for reading. This will benefit students who experience difficulty in establishing sight words and contextual fluency is difficulty in visualizing letters in words. A significant number of students—even those who have well-developed phonemic awareness—have difficulty with rapidly perceiving sounds in words, and are slow to self-correct their reading errors.
Elementary Reading teachers will be attending the annual Literacy for All Conference, a leading literacy and Reading Recovery conference in the Northeast. Topics will include: Early Literacy, Intervention, Coaching, Children's Literature, Reader's Workshop, Guided Reading and more.
Mrs. Vieira and Mr. Leblanc attended the Annual Computer Science Teacher Association New England Regional Conference brings together educators and leaders in K-12 and higher education, state policymakers, and industry professionals from across New England to work together to build supportive communities and broaden participation in computer science education. Share best practices, learn new implementation strategies, network with peers, and enhance your pedagogical knowledge in the expanding field of computer science education.
Dr. Tillotson attended a workshop on The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2) is a gold-standard clinical interview and observational measure of autism symptoms that is appropriate for children and adults across a wide range of cognitive and language abilities. The use of the ADOS-2 enhances the accuracy of diagnostic evaluations, providing a standardized observation that can be used in conjunction with other clinical assessments and interviews. The two-day training will include an up-to-date description of the instrument, video presentations of example administrations, and live demonstrations by the trainer.
Ms. Cote and Ms Halloran, NS Social Workers, attended the 2018 Annual School Social Work Conference learning about:
Vaping 101- the history of Electronic Cigarettes, statistics of use through current studies, three categories of ENDS products, strategies to combat vaping.
Identifying and Intervening in Schools with Children Impacted by Family Addiction, hearing first person account(s) of the impact of opioid addiction/overdose on families and learning ways to identify children impacted by parents/siblings who are struggling with addiction as well as learning to intervene and help children cope with parental/sibling addiction.