In rural South Dakota it is not always easy to find professional development opportunities close by that will be as beneficial as possible for staff members, so the Faulkton and Redfield school districts joined forces for a joint in-service day.
“The idea that we could partner with a school district close by, pool some resources and learn from each other was the motivation,” Faulkton Superintendent Derek Barrios said.
“Every school district is full of professionals that can teach and collaborate with other teachers to grow professionally.”
Classified and certified professionals, as well as administrators, from both districts took part in the joint venture with staff members both presenting and attending best practices sessions of their choice that included: Standards Based Report Cards, Edgenuity, Using Outlook Calendar, Osmo, Working Beyond Behaviors with Adobe Spark, How a School Counselor Can Help and grade level or content-specific meetings.
“The biggest benefit was the ability for our staff to choose what sessions they attended and for them to be able to have those meaningful conversations with other staff members,” Barrios said.
“I feel like it also confirmed that we need to work to grow this opportunity for staff in the years to come.”
Feedback suggested the same with survey reporting 70 percent of the staff felt it was an effective use of their time that day and 81 percent of staff felt that the in-service improved their teaching skills, as well.
Those results merited another cooperative learning opportunity.
“We already have a date set for next year’s joint in-service,” Barrios said.