November Professional Development Corner

Professional Development Corner
Posted on 10/31/2017
CTE Instructor Greg Flekke leads class discussion while two students work on computers.The fall frenzy of activities continues in the Professional Development and Testing departments here at SouthWest Metro just as it does in all of our programs and sites! We have some exciting PD activities scheduled in the upcoming months, and our ACT tests will be right around the corner. I will try to highlight some of these upcoming events to help staff best be prepared in advance.

November 6 - Massages
November 3 is the end of the first quarter already! November 6 is dedicated to staff members working on wrapping up first quarter and planning for Quarter 2. While we don’t plan any meetings or workshops for that day, the PD Department and Wellness Committee have arranged for Stress Break Chair Massages. Some area chiropractors have donated their time to visit the 401 Building, Shakopee Town Square, and Jordan sites. If you wish, take a break from grading and planning and get a quick massage. Receptionists at each of those sites have sign-up sheets. You may visit any site that is convenient/ accommodates your schedule that day. Please let Joy or Dave know if you have feedback regarding these visits and please thank the chiropractors for this wonderful support.

November 22 - Licensed Staff Workshop & *Whitewater / Hoonuit
Each administrator has a tentative schedule for the November 22 workshop for licensed staff, and we hope to have one posted on the website. We are currently making the final arrangements with presenters regarding content and time allotments. The entire morning and lunch will take place at the 401 Building. We have a very full day planned, and you will be expected to bring a charged device (computer, laptop, or phone) in order to participate in all the activities. On that day you will be enrolled in Hoonuit - the company that has purchased Whitewater Learning Platform (Non-licensed staff will be enrolled on the January workshop day). It will be important for you to have a device so you can be sure to get fully enrolled that day.
Please remember to give feedback about the workshop to the PD Advisory Committee Representative at your site, and watch for a survey after the workshop is completed. It is that feedback along with program needs that assist us in planning.

December 4 - PD Advisory
The next PD Advisory meeting will take place Monday, December 4 at Valley Green. We will be planning our January 15 “All Staff” Workshop at that meeting as well as going over feedback from the November 22 workshop. If you are interested in being a part of this committee, please contact Dave. We have some nice representation on this committee but want to make sure we cover all buildings and departments as we plan for PD needs across the entire District.

Upcoming PD Opportunities
We continue to offer CPI trainings and refreshers. We are also hoping to offer some regular technology nights to support your technology needs. Please let Ginger, Dave, or Joy know if you would like a specific technology class offered. Some tentative PD offerings include  a workshop on Trauma-Informed schools with Dr. Mark Sander in December. In January we will be offering a course called “Adaptive Schools.” This course will teach how to build strong, collaborative, and caring teams in a result-oriented environment. Watch the website for these and other courses/ PD offerings.

If you have suggestions for PD courses, books and articles, or activities that should be featured in the Professional Development Department, please let Joy or Dave know. We are here to serve you and support your work. We have been discussing how we can re-vision the PD portion of our website as well.

As the District Assessment Coordinator, I have asked each site to designate one contact person that can be the liaison for your site as we move into testing season. If you think you are that person at your site - THANK YOU! The state testing system can be stressful, but with careful planning and communication we can limit that stress and anxiety not only for students- but for staff as well!
The first testing requirement for this year will be the opportunity for juniors and seniors to take the ACT tests as an identified college entrance exam.This will take place on February 27. Please watch for details and communicate with your Testing Rep (or contact me) if you have concerns or questions. All staff will need to take a test security training as well. We are looking at placing that on our January Workshop Agenda and take care of it as one large group.
The MCAs will come all too quickly in March and April. If you need assistance with test prep materials, please let me know. We will be collecting and submitting accommodations for all tests soon (due in December). As you are conducting IEPs or intakes, please don’t forget these testing conversations should occur each year and by subject. Lastly, remember the Testing Calendar and Parent/ Guardian forms have been placed on the website for your convenience. Again, thanks in advance for your prompt communications related to testing. Everyone doing his/her part will make this testing season the best one yet!

Book Recommendation
This month’s book recommendation comes our way from Jennifer Hennes, ABE Supervisor.
Difficult Conversations, How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. Thank you, Jennifer!