"We always offer the newest trends (in teaching)," said Marsha Woodard, director of elementary education and staff development for Catawba County Schools.
"That's the biggest pull."
It's the second summer staff development program offered through the school system.This year, CCS
split the program into two weeks of workshops — one immediately after the school year ended and the second just before teachers start gearing up for the new school year.Woodard
said attendance has nearly doubled for the optional workshops.She
said the average attendance has been 150-200 teachers each day, with many teachers opting to enroll in multiple workshops.
said in many other counties, the courses are taken at the teacher's expense; however, the workshops offered by CCS
provide a free method of earning credits toward license renewal.
For the first time ever, CCS
has also invited teachers from Newton-Conover City Schools
and Hickory Public Schools
, as well as private schools like Concordia Christian Day School and St. Stephens Lutheran School
"We can learn so much from each other," Woodard
said."We're hoping this is the start of something very big."Woodard
uses the "train the trainer" model, which involves sending curriculum specialists to training sessions in various teaching methods and concepts.After the curriculum specialists become proficient in the curriculum, they instruct the other teachers how to apply the same techniques in their own classrooms.
"What it is, is teachers helping teachers," Woodard
Meanwhile, principals attended a Response to Instruction intervention program designed to make sure students get the right interventions in the classrooms to make them successful learners, Woodard
said.Implementation of the program is still three to five years away, she
said most of the teachers attended in order to learn about cutting-edge technology and concepts they can implement in the classrooms.
"Good teachers are always looking for new ideas," Woodard
The school system also encouraged its newly hired teachers to attend workshops before they start the Beginning Teacher Institute
said it's a good way for the new teachers to get ahead of other new teachers, because they are already becoming familiar with key terminology and the newest teaching concepts.
"It's great to know our teachers go to school year-round," Woodard