Teaching teachers

By Janet Barresi, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Friday, Nov. 14, 2014

Good teachers are first good students.

Pass Plus AcademyOver the past several months and during much of the last two years, Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) instructional directors have taken professional development to thousands of Oklahoma teachers and school administrators in academies, workshops and trainings held in schools and CareerTech centers throughout the state.

The outcome is teachers who have greater understanding of the state’s academic standards and a renewed focus on how to translate these standards into evidence-based activities they can share with their students. The goal is students who attain mastery of their studies and ultimately are prepared for college and career.

"I learned to be more creative in finding or making 'thinking' problems,” one elementary math teacher said after a day at a PASS-Plus Academy.

"I loved the handouts and great momentum. I left with 4 pages of notes :)," wrote another teacher.

“I had fun in this interactive workshop. I feel like I learned many methods to help my writers,” wrote another.

More than 2,500 English and math educators from across Oklahoma have taken part in the regional PASS-Plus Academies. The workshops were designed to give teachers suggestions for enhancing instructional effectiveness while modeling how to increase rigor, relevance and resources using the state’s Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards.

OSDE began the academies after the passage of legislation this year requiring Oklahoma’s PreK-12 teachers to use PASS standards for English language arts and mathematics through 2016. The state will develop new and stronger academic standards to go into effect in 2016.

Also during the last few months, state science teachers have attended training on new academic standards for science, adopted by the state Legislature earlier this year. These academies have given teachers an in-depth look at the new content standards along with plenty of opportunities to practice hands-on activities they can use in their classrooms.

In September and October, secondary English, math, science and social studies teachers were invited to attend free Advanced Placement training. Math teachers learned problem-solving and Algebraic thinking. Science teachers created learner-centered classrooms. History teachers crafted historical arguments, and English teachers learned inquiry-based close reading and composition.

This is just a fraction of the work that is ongoing with the OSDE. Our instructional team is often on the road, bringing professional development opportunities close to classroom teachers across Oklahoma. All of this training is free for our educators.

The number of teachers who have taken part encourages us, and we are thrilled with their positive feedback.







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Last updated on November 14, 2014