More than 230 Bryan County teachers voluntarily went to summer school this year as part of the school system’s first summer professional learning institute.
There, they took a variety of classes in classrooms around the county as part of a push to give teachers “professional learning that met their needs,” said Dr. Bradley Anderson, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.
Course topics ranged from implementing common core standards or rigor in the classroom to using technology, writing strategies for students and more. Classes ranged from half a day to some that lasted three days.
Teachers were paid a stipend and in all the program cost about $100,000, Anderson said, noting it was funded through a combination of federal and local funds.
The program didn’t happen overnight, however.
“Three years ago through a comprehensive needs assessment of our teachers, we recognized we needed to provide professional learning,” Anderson said. “We thought that during the summer we could provide that opportunity because that’s when they’re not working with kids so they’d have time to dedicate to it. It was several months in the planning and (curriculum coordinator Julie Howard) and her folks worked real hard on getting everything put together. It took a lot of different hands to pull it together and make it happen.”
Classes were led by educational consultants, system leaders and teachers.
“They were able to learn from colleagues who shared their challenges and lessons learned in their areas of expertise,” Anderson said. “It is our hope that the opportunity to learn and network with teachers across the district will positively impact student achievement.”