Pro-D days provide direct benefit to students

Editor, The News:

Given the recent one-sided media exposure on the content of professional days, the teachers at Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary would like to set the record straight with regard to the actual content of professional development days at our school and in School District No. 42, as a whole.

Professional development is seen by our teaching staff as valuable to the ongoing improvement of our teaching practice.

The professional development committee at the school plans and implements Pro-D activities for in-school Pro-D days and distributes information on offerings for outside conferences and networking opportunities.

Given that September’s Pro-D day was self-directed, teachers organized themselves either individually or in groups to participate in a variety of development activities.

Here is just a sampling of the kinds of activities teachers at our school were involved in – all of which would have an impact on teaching practice and, in turn, a positive effect on student learning:

• attending the first of a three-session series working with Faye Brownlie, one of the best educational gurus in the world;

• learning to build interactive websites, which would allow students to access classroom information and download assignments;

• learning how to use the cloud-based program Prezi to develop more engaging notes for lessons;

• attending a session focusing on the implementation of the new course Apprenticeship and Workplace Math;

• learning how to use screen-casting software to produce video clips of tablet-based lessons that students can download and use at home while doing their homework or studying for a test;

• members of our special education team worked with the district physiotherapist, going over the physiotherapy and sensory programs for some of our special needs students.

As you can see, teachers at our school (and countless other schools in the province) are taking full advantage of the professional development time allotted to them to bring best practice into their classrooms.

However, professional development does not just occur on designated Pro-D days.

Numerous school district teachers are involved in district-based initiatives, including the Teacher Inquiry Project and Engaging Adolescent Learners.  Both programs occur on evenings outside of the regular teaching day.

Ask the students in your family about all the interesting things that are happening in their classrooms. Many of these are a direct result of the Pro-D opportunities afforded their teachers throughout the school year.

Steve Halfnights, teacher

Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary