Teachers collaborate to help students

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery - Staff Writer

Though topics varied by district, the second collaborative planning day involving the county's three public school districts was aimed at helping students in the classroom.
Public school students across Barnwell County were released a half day early while teachers stayed behind for professional development.
The final collaborative planning day is set for Feb. 5.
District 19
Blackville-Hilda Public Schools used the theme "Cross Curricular Connections" as their guide.
English language arts, social studies and special area teachers met at the Blackville Country Club. Meanwhile, math, science and special education teachers met at the high school's media center.
Using discussion, resources and activities, consultants led sessions exploring the literacy standards for the new Common Core state standards. Common Core places an emphasis on the importance of reading and writing in all subjects.
"Everything was focused on Common Core," said Tonya James, Barnwell District 19's curriculum director. "I'm hoping they learned it takes all of us to help make education successful for all students in our district."
James said they will continue the same theme during the February meeting.
District 29
Williston District 29 also focused on Common Core.
Kelly Edwards Elementary teachers discussed 55 critical verbs of Common Core and how to teach students to know what meaning of a word is being asked for, including using jingles. One example is the word draw, which could mean to draw a picture or "draw out, make a point," said Dr. Carol Lenderman, the district's director of instruction, assessment and accountability.
Williston-Elko Middle School took a "good glance" at the new science standards that are coming out, specifically what training they need, she said.
The high school looked at "effective strategies" teachers can use in class to make sure students are learning what they need to.
In February, Lenderman said fifth and sixth grade teachers will meet as will eighth and ninth grade teachers to discuss the transition for their students to the next school. They will also discuss the HSAP (high school exit exam) and preparations for the end of the school year.
District 45
District 45 designed their collaborative planning day "to continue the commitment to the implementation of the district's vision of preparing all of our students for a successful tomorrow," said Crissie Stephens, the district's curriculum director.
The administrative team at each school led a professional development session of the district's performance standards for certified staff not covered during the September day, specifically focusing on effective instruction, student growth and assessment, and optimal learning environments.
"Administrators also used the time to facilitate and foster collaborative conversations on ways to provide differentiated instruction in the classroom and to provide instructional feedback to students, as well as reflecting on the diversity of learners within our classrooms," said Stephens.
District 45 has not determined an exact theme for the February date, though Stephens said the district leadership team, which includes administrators from each school, will meet in January to assess their professional development needs.