JPS Teachers Attend CC Workshop

To improve curriculum and instruction in the classroom, an investment in training teachers needs to be made.

That is why teachers in the Jamestown Public Schools have been attending Common Core Institute summer professional development workshops since the middle of July. Jessie Joy, Jamestown curriculum, instruction and assessment director, said during the development of the 2014-15 school budget, Tim Mains, Jamestown superintendent, emphasized the importance of Common Core staff development.

”So with that investment the board made in this year’s budget, we have done a lot of work this summer to have robust investment in our teachers,” she said.

Joy said during the workshops, which will continue through August, there will be more than 900 participants, which includes some teachers who will be attending more than one workshop. Joy said the workshops are important to improve teacher focus on the Common Core Standards and curriculum. Teachers in kindergarten through eighth-grade will attend three days of instruction for math and English language arts. Teachers at the high school will attend three-day workshops for social studies and science, and English language arts.

”The teachers need to deepen their understanding of the (Common Core) standards themselves,” Joy said.

Joy said the workshops will also cover professional development for response to intervention. She said this will assist teachers with preventing students from falling behind learning a subject.

”It is to identify fairly early students struggling, and to catch them up and close the gaps before that occurs,” she said. ”We’re working with teachers to strengthen the (response to intervention) process.”

Another theme for teachers in the development workshops is to focus on positive behaviors. She said instead of just discipline for negative behavior, teachers will also focus on positive feedback and support for students.

”It is all about creating a climate through all classrooms in the school to recognize and reward positive behavior,” she said.

Joy said so far the feedback from teachers on the development workshops has been positive.

”A common comment has been, ‘I wish we would have had this a year ago,’ (before Common Core instruction started statewide).” Joy said.

Joy said neighboring school districts have also been invited to the Jamestown development workshops. She said participation has been lower than she thought it might be. However, she said Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES also holds Common Core development workshops, which teachers from other district may have selected instead.