At the February 12th school board meeting, the Rugby Public School Board voted to increase the amount of time for teacher training by adding seven additional days of training to the 2019-2020 school calendar. The school board took advantage of a recent law change that provides schools with additional flexibility for teacher training and storm day makeup.
The approved school calendar for 2019-2020 provides 10 days of professional development for teachers and support staff. This equates to one professional development day per month. The school district will not have students in session on these training days. In the past, we would front load most of our training during our two days of professional development prior to school starting. Due to the time constraints of the school day and a traditional school calendar it has been extremely difficult to gain momentum on our key school initiatives. According to research on adult learning, high quality professional learning is job embedded and continuously occurs throughout the year.
In general, the calendar change will provide teachers more opportunities to engage in school improvement, curriculum planning, and personal professional development during their working hours. It is the belief that quality is greater than quantity in relation to time in front of kids. All professionals need time and opportunities to update, to train, to interact with other professionals, to hone their craft, to reflect on their work, to get better. Effective professional development is distributed over time and not jammed into a single day.
Professionals need opportunities to: become aware of best practices, observe others modeling new or different practices, have opportunities to practice, receive feedback, reflect and interact with others. When teachers are able to meet regularly to reflect on practice, examine student work, agree on common outcomes, research best practice, observe others, share effective practices, everyone benefits. The traditional structure and length of the school day has not allowed for this type of practice. Sometimes the lumberjack must stop sawing to sharpen his blade to improve production. This is no different than the teaching profession, sometimes we need time away from teaching to improve teaching.
You can view the new calendar at this website: https://tinyurl.com/y25zzqkw