A New York Times magazine cover story caught my attention entitled “(New Math) – (New Teaching) = Failure”* at back to school time this year. In this article, Elizabeth Green calls out the importance of providing professional development to teachers who are charged with teaching the 21st century-oriented Common Core curriculum to our children. In short, how can we expect our teachers to teach our children a proven math approach using real-world examples if they themselves haven’t been taught how to teach it?
Thankfully, Burlingame School District (BSD) is way ahead of the game when it comes to the professional development of our teachers. Our Superintendent, Dr. Maggie MacIsaac, is committed to providing all of her teachers with premier researched-based teaching strategies taught by teaching experts. The training is recurring, immersive, and sustainably absorbed by our educators. It’s not a one-off lecture approach.
This year BSD teachers receive year-round professional development from:
- The Reading & Writing Project (a.k.a. Writers Workshop) founded and directed by Professor Lucy Calkins of Columbia University Teaching College
- West Ed Training on Literacy (for BIS teachers)
- SWUN Math methodology developed by Si Swun to excel in Common Core math standards
- Two in-house teaching coaches and curriculum experts: Susan Anderson, BSD Math Coach and Brennan Brockbank, BSD Science Coach
And best of all, the District’s investment in professional development has inspired our teachers to form “lesson study” groups throughout our schools, an impressive practice rooted in the Japanese teaching community that is used to “hone their craft”. As described by the New York Times article, lesson study groups allow teachers to practice new approaches in front of their peer group and receive effectiveness feedback that improves their skills.
Your donations to BCE Foundation support professional development for our teachers. Our $1.5+ million injection of flexible dollars into BSD’s budget strengthens our schools and helps our district fund programs and teachers that make a powerful impact on our children’s education every day. Our community’s partnership with the school district is invaluable, and we thank you for your generosity.
-Sari McConnell, BOD, Vice President-Marketing
*NYT article printed 7.28.14