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Awesome Day for Professional Development in HCCSD

HCCSD All-District Professional Development Encouraged Staff to REACH for Improvement

LEXINGTON, Miss. – Engaging, culturally-relevant teaching strategies, classroom management, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and Crisis Response Training were some of the sessions HCCSD educators attended during Monday’s professional development day, themed REACH: Reflect, Engage And Climb Higher. Presenters from Mississippi and other states were on hand to facilitate staff learning. Administrators, school leadership, teachers, teaching assistants, support staff and auxiliary staff alike attended targeted sessions to improve their skills and performance.
“Professional development and continuing education are vital for the employees of a learning organization,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. James L. Henderson. “Everyone needs to maintain their professional knowledge and keep up with developments in their field.” Chief of School Leadership, Dr. Joann Rucker added, “We had sessions for every content subject area as well as specialization for school counselors and career and technology educators. Our clerical staff went through training on the new financial record keeping system and everyone had crisis response training.”
Dr. Chance W. Lewis, the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair of Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte presented 20 strategies to engage students in their learning by structuring lessons around things they know about or like to do. For example, he showed a lesson on statistics relative to the number of playing positions on the teams in the NFL, NBA and MLB. After demonstrating how few positions are open each season, he extended the sports engagement by showing a picture of the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium on a game day and asking for a list of all the non-player positions (jobs) it takes to run the stadium on game day. His point was not to disabuse a student of his dream of being a professional athlete, but to show them how many player-adjacent careers there are in the field of athletic entertainment, from stadium designers and architects to the person who runs the jumbotron, the organization’s staff and all the employees who make each game day possible—numbers much larger than the number of players on the team!
Goodman-Pickens Elementary teacher Suzanne Holder said “I heard things I didn’t know. It was very productive for me and I enjoyed all the sessions I attended.” Molly Fritz said she learned about “writing and mini lessons to use for the next nine weeks to improve students’ writing.”
The Crisis Response Training provided by J. Cooper Dixon, School Safety Specialist with the Mississippi Department of Education, focused on the patterns of school shootings and how simple practices such as keeping classroom doors and windows locked and controlling visitor access to buildings and student areas like playgrounds, cafeterias, libraries and hallways helps protect students when unanticipated violence breaks out.
Teachers Mary Ann Veasley and Laquisha Stewart both said the Crisis Response training was helpful. Ms. Stewart said, “I learned that we need a plan for safely supervising children outdoors, times like morning arrival and afternoon departure, as well as when they’re on the playground.”
Dr. Henderson said, “Professional Development is not only a state requirement, but a commitment as well from the district leadership. Education staff must be life-long learners and it is our responsibility to ensure our staff has access to high-quality training as part of their job. Providing days like this when educators can get together to collaborate with each other and participate in stimulating learning experiences is critical to developing the caliber of leaders, teachers and support staff to elevate the instruction and assessment our students need to graduate prepared to succeed in a global economy.”

Marcus Magee, Human Anatomy Teacher HCCHS
Geraldine Friar, 4th Grade Science WDE

Marcus Magee, Human Anatomy Teacher HCCHS
Geraldine Friar, 4th Grade Science WDE

Brandon Thurmond and Jaleel King learn how to use manipulatives to teach Math

Dr. Chance Lewis instructs educators on student engagement and cultural relevance.

J Cooper Dixon, Crisis Response

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