Children are out of school again for what the district called “professional development days.”
While the term may imply a type of training, many parents are left wondering exactly what their children’s teachers are doing while their students are home for the day.
Generally, the teachers spend time at their school site getting caught up on education trends or changes. Sometimes the district will host guest speakers and large sessions for teachers.
This year, though, Norman Public Schools decided to take a different approach to training.
Instead of leaving it up to each school to do site-by-site training or even taking on the training just as a district, NPS partnered with the University of Oklahoma College of Education, The Oklahoma Writing Project and the Oklahoma Education Association to offer the “Get Fit” conference. “Get Fit” stands for “Gaining Excellence in Teaching Through Focused Instructional Tools.”
This 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. conference took place at three sites in the district: Roosevelt Elementary School, Longfellow Middle School and Norman North High School. More than 1,040 teachers and administrators registered or presented at the event.
“There isn’t one person, I bet, that didn’t get something out of it,” said Gary Gress, a geography/history/current issues teacher at Norman High School.
Dr. Shirley A. Simmons, director of staff development and student achievement for NPS, said that was the type of statements organizers were hoping to hear after the conference.
She said the NPS district administration meets twice a year with the College of Education to discuss professional issues and possible collaborations.
“Both groups particularly wanted to collaborate on professional development,” Simmons said. The groups decided to focus on a conference format where professors from the college could team with Norman teachers to present workshops on various topics.
These workshops included CPR classes, implementation of technology classes, education trends, cultural integration, presentation of education units and stress management for teachers.