As the final bell rings for Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) students this 2016-17 school year, teachers and PAUSD support staff take the role of students as they continue to learn and sharpen their skill set preparing for the upcoming 2017-18 year. During the summer of 2017, as aligned with the PAUSD High Quality Teaching and Learning District Goal, PAUSD will offer ample professional learning opportunities for teachers and other employees. As early as the week of June 5, the following week after the last day of school, PAUSD teachers and staff begin to participate in a variety of district workshops designed to support their learning and growing.
“Palo Alto Unified places a high value on professional learning and the ongoing growth of all educators,” says Dr. Kelly Bikle, the school district’s director of professional learning. Dr. Bikle, in a collaboration with the school district’s chief academic officers, is charged with making sure PAUSD professionals have opportunities to grow and improve their skills, a key element of the 2016-17 District Goals. “When employees participate in professional learning activities to improve their knowledge and skills, our students benefit. Professional Learning is a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’, principals’, and support staffs’ effectiveness in raising student achievement. In order to provide all students with the highest quality learning environment in every Palo Alto school, teachers and staff need to continuously engage in improving their skills,” she explains.
The summer of 2017 includes 29 different workshops designed to build both collective and individual knowledge and expertise. Some of the opportunities in which teachers will participate this summer include:
- K-5 Responsive Classroom: A research-based approach to K-5 teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional skills.
- Techstravaganza: A one day tech conference on many different tech topics that are important in PAUSD: Schoology, Google, digital tools, tech integration, and more!
- PA-YOU!-SD: A focus on key district initiatives including learning targets, assessment, engaging instructional practices, and curriculum design.
- Arts Integration for Classroom Teachers: Learning how to integrate theatre Arts into readers/writers workshop units, science units, or Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
- Blast into Mathematics: An overview of PAUSD’s new elementary mathematics curriculum.
These learning opportunities that are offered during the summer and throughout the school year (as highlighted in the following video) are designed with the PAUSD professional in mind, to support them with acquiring the skills necessary to implement PAUSD initiatives. Teachers sign up for these opportunities voluntarily based on their interests for professional learning growth. More than 630 seats are available through the variety of professional learning activities during the summer of 2017.