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Nearly 800 teachers attended Professional Development Day, hosted by West Ranch High School and Rancho Pico Junior High School, and 43 teachers voluntarily shared their knowledge by teaching the sessions offered, said Jill Shenberger, director of professional development and special programs for the Hart District.
Dozens of courses centered around technology in the classroom were taught throughout the day in order to help prepare teachers for the statewide implementation of Common Core Standards, Shenberger said.
“We want our students to be digitally literate,” Shenberger said. “Common Core is not all about tests, the focus is different.”
Shenberger said that although teachers who volunteered to attend Professional Development Day received a typical days salary, she was impressed that most of the Hart District teachers chose to attend rather than take a four day weekend.
Principal at Placerita Canyon Junior High School, Jan Hayes-Rennels, both attended a class and taught one.
“Today revolves around technology, but not just learning it, it’s about seeing how you would use it in the classroom,” Hayes-Rennels said.
Hayes-Rennels taught two separate classes on Prezi, an interactive version of PowerPoint.
West Ranch Director of the Associated Student Body and U.S. history teacher Todd Arrowsmith took the course and said he likes that teachers from all over the world can upload their presentations to the website, search for others, and customize others presentations to better fit their own classrooms needs.
“PowerPoint is old school, whereas Prezi has a lot more effects,” Arrowsmith said. “Someone told me it’s PowerPoint for hipsters.”
Hayes-Rennels said she enjoys how contemporary and easy to use Prezi is, and that as long as someone has Internet they can always access their work.
After teaching, Hayes-Rennels planned to attend the Datawise for Administrators course.
“We’ll learn how to use computers to analyze results for common assessments,” she said.
Common Core Standards is not only moving classrooms into the Twenty-First century, but administrators too, by making students test results digital and therefore easier to compare.
“Now we’re thinking globally, not just asking, how am I doing, but how is the school doing, or even other schools,” Hayes-Rennels said.
Shenberger said that courses like the ones provided on Professional Development Day are needed to help teachers learn how to educate the students of today.
“We’re not discrediting past successes, but taking those and building on them,” Shenberger said. “These students aren’t the same ones we had 10 years ago.”
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More information: William S. Hart Union School District
Source: Santa Clarita News