Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"When the students are away..." Huntsville ISD's Latest Professional Development Day

Ever wonder what exactly goes on in a staff development day?  When the students are away, do the teachers play?  Well, no, the teachers actually become the students!

Mance Park Middle School English teacher John Rhine shares his perspective.
Lauren Greer (right) and others listen.

On this professional development day, the first of Dr. Howell Wright's tenure as Superintendent of Education for Huntsville ISD, the focus of our efforts was the improvement of our students' test scores.  We came together to work on one cause; to ensure the learning of ALL Hornets.

HHS Assistant Principal Jessie Anderson listens to HHS Math Department Head Jonathan Gallen.

First, our teachers and staff reviewed our students' test data in the morning.  After a break for lunch, the teams worked together to build a comprehensive,  targeted and aligned plan to address our students' weakest and most vulnerable areas.

And what did we learn from the video?
You need a good map to know where you are going...
and don't get directions from Chevy Chase!
The day started with a message from Dr. Wright, along with an object lesson of what happens when you don't know where you are going, courtesy the Eighties comedy classic, Funny Farm.  (To review the video, click the link above & remember that you must be logged into your district email account for access.)

Dr. Wright- Superintendent and Comedy Movie Enthusiast

Teachers and staff met at three campuses in the District: the Huntsville Intermediate School cafeteria, the Mance Park Middle School Commons and the auditorium at Huntsville High School.

All He Needs is Popcorn!
Huntsville High School's German teacher and Department Head of Foreign Languages
Scott Bumbaugh is ready for the show to begin!

After the video message, we hosted an interactive question and answer session with Dr. Wright from the High School via Google Hangouts.  Although we had tech issues (Sorry Mance Park!!), we did get to hear more about Dr. Wright, both on the personal and the professional side.

Can You Hear Me Now?
Live from Huntsville- it's Huntsville Intermediate School

And, as Dr. Wright noted,  sometimes these issues come up when you're working with technology and you try something new (no matter how much you test it!)

Dr. Wright speaks- with camera on the left and audience on the right.

Huntsville High School's Construction Trades teacher Bobby Conner (center) introduces
Dr. Wright to HHS's Agriculture Science teacher Kenneth Goines.
Next, the groups were divided by content area and/or grade, with a particular focus on both vertical and horizontal alignment. We've all heard about vertical alignment, confirming that the students have a complete 'ladder' up from K-12 with no missing "rungs," but horizontal alignment?

She's getting what y'all are saying!
Amy Mayer, Director of Staff Development and District Initiatives is picking up what her group is laying down!

Horizontal alignment can also be essential to a student's success, as coaches, counselors and special subject teachers can be empowered to help bolster and scaffold the tested STEM subjects throughout the student's day.  And if these teachers don't know, then how can they help?

Not ALL serious:
Math teacher Jamie Nash of Mance Park Middle School and
Amy Turner, Assistant Principal of Huntsville Intermediate School.

Echoing what Dr. Wright mentioned in his opening remarks- Every Hornet has a role to play in the success of our students.

HHS's Criminal Justice teacher Stacy Godby & HHS Science teacher Jacki Dawson
So while you look at these photos, you may see some folks that historically haven't necessarily worked on curriculum together.

HHS Occupational Therapist Coach Elliot get down to brass tacks with HHS Math teacher Coach Teel.

Dr. Wright with Huntsville Elementary School Assistant Principal Jana Bethel.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Wright made clear that this work is not just about one test, it's about the growth of each mind for which we hold ourselves responsible and what we, personally, can do to help within the context of our individual positions.   Teachers and staff took this message to heart.
It isn't an easy task, but the stakes are real and the rewards are great!

HISD's Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction Marjetta Spriggs
in a break from the action at Huntsville Intermediate School

Huntsville High Librarian Carol Nichols and Deneice Davis, Huntsville High ISS Instructional Aide.
Two MPMS Math Teachers-  Coach Walker and Coach Ghoston
Is it just us, or could this photo work in a men's clothing catalog, too?
At Huntsville Intermediate School, Huntsville Elementary teachers  Sarah McNeel (Third Grade) 
and Robyn Bell (Refocus) take a quick break for a smile.
Brenda Shultz leads teachers through the data.

Crystal Flores, a student teacher who works with Bridget Smiley Fifth Grade Math classes
at Huntsville Intermediate School, keeps her water handy to stay hydrated!

Huntsville High Dance teacher Dana LeNorman and
 Creative Writing, Communication Arts & Debate teacher Kathy Partin are deep in the zone.

Huntsville Elementary's Counselor, Jennifer Kempton in  a moment of contemplation.

Huntsville Elementary School's Assistant Principal Jana Bethel is listening.
At Mance Park Middle School Huntsville Intermediate teachers
Karol Smith (math) and Jill Maupin (science) examine and discuss the data.
We're getting somewhere! HHS Counselors Nancy Myers and  Jessica Castro like what they hear.
Mance Park English teacher Lauren Rudolph is all smiles!
Each participant was asked to provide honest feedback before they left-
yes, you can do it on a phone! 
Hornet Proud! We caught Huntsville Elementary Special Education teacher Joe McCammon
(aka "Mr. Mac") at the end of a good long day.
Hat's Off to Everybody for Putting in the Effort and Making it Work Today!
(Hat Courtesy of Samuel Walker Houston Elementary's Lonnie Stanford)

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