B'ville: Professional development is year round

The Baldwinsville Central School District remains proactive in its staff development in order to increase student achievement and to provide the district's teaching staff with opportunities to maintain and increase their knowledge and skills. Baldwinsville teachers are involved in staff development throughout the year, not just on professional development days. They receive training in workshops and at conferences so that they can meet the needs of their students as well as remain current with the teaching profession.

This spring, teachers in kindergarten through fifth grades have been attending valuable reading and writing instruction workshops outside of professional development days. The training is provided by district teachers in order to utilize their talents and skills while at the same time decreasing the district's expenses in its professional development program. As the economy continues to lag, the district will be tapping more often into staff talent and expertise to provide professional development opportunities for staff. A majority of the workshop presenters at the district's professional development day this past March were district staff members.

Currently, teachers in kindergarten through second grades are training through the Reading Academy, which focuses on five components of reading -- phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The training is lead by teachers Patrice Murphy, Sue Carulli, Jennifer Frigon, Rhonda Wayman, Veronica Connors and Dale Nissen.

Several teachers are also training their colleagues in the Lucy Calkins writing curriculum, which focuses on writing workshops for students, personal narrative writing, skills and strategies of writing, revision, using authors as mentors, nonfiction writing and poetry. Teacher trainers are Dana Ziegler, Sarah Parrish, Karen Ernst, Natalie Thompson, Christie Brooks, and Jackie Campbell. The district began training kindergarten through second grade teachers in the writing curriculum three years ago and is now expanding the training to include third through fifth grades due to its success in the lower grades.

Teachers throughout the district will continue to work collaboratively to identify, develop and present opportunities for staff training by staff members in order to increase student achievement.

Karen Ernst, a second-grade teacher from Palmer Elementary School, leads a writing training workshop for Baldwinsville elementary school teachers.

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