Great teachers help create great students. In fact, research shows that an inspiring and informed teacher is the most important school-related factor influencing student achievement. Professional development opportunities keep teachers up-to-date on new research, emerging technology, curriculum resources and best practices. “Even experienced teachers confront great challenges each year, including changes in subject content, new instructional methods, advances in technology, changed laws and procedures, and student learning needs.” (Mizell, 2010)
The support of professional development for faculty and staff by the wider NCS community helps create a culture of learning throughout the School. The recent unprecedented success of “Paddles Up For Professional Development” at the annual Gala was undeniable proof of your commitment to ensure focused, effective teaching and learning at North Cross. This is a goal shared by the faculty and staff as well as any parents, past parents, alums and friends who made a donation toward this effort.
As our teachers strive to hone their craft, these educational and collaborative experiences improve learning for teachers and students. Taking part in these opportunities together is valuable in and of itself. “When educators engage in professional development at their schools with their colleagues, they can learn from each other, support one another, and hold each other accountable for applying what they learn” (Mizell, 2010)
Data show that “good teachers can overcome societal problems interfering with an individual student’s learning.” (Johnson, 2014) The more we can do to remove these types of obstacles for our students, the more we as educators can accomplish in the classroom.
To that end, after your child left campus today, our faculty and staff heard from two speakers whose work will help develop how we face the challenges presented by student conflict and its resolution. Shekila Melchior and Brandy Smith, licensed counselors and doctoral candidates at Virginia Tech, led discussions on social neuroscience in education and talked about how we may create a positive classroom climate as well as recognizing and minimizing triggers within our student body. In addition, Shekila and Brandy pointed to the benefits of mindfulness and how we may implement the concept into our classrooms as well as in our daily lives.
The generosity shown by our community during the “Paddles-Up” fundraiser will serve directly the growth of our faculty through programs like the one today. We will continue to tailor these opportunities each year. As important as this is to teachers professionally, the real goal is to benefit our students – your children. Professional development is such a key part of that goal, and we couldn’t be happier to see it is one we clearly share.
- Johnson, Ben. “Why Quality Professional Development for Teachers Matters” Edutopia, September 16, 2014 www.edutopia.org/blog/why-quality-professional-development-teachers-matters-ben-johnson
- Mizell, Hayes. Why Professional Development Matters. Oxford Ohio: Learning Forward, 2010. Print.