STEM teachers and leaders participate in a continuous program of STEM-specific professional learning.
Standard 1.9 Narrative
Just like their students, teachers at Fayetteville School consider themselves forever learners, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). They are continuously searching for professional development opportunities that will enhance their ability to teach standards and integrate areas of STEAM across all grade levels and subjects. They even become experts and share their knowledge in STEAM areas with fellow Talladega County teachers. Fayetteville School teachers and Digital Learning Specialist have facilitated STEAM specific professional learning at STEAM by design workshops presented by Talladega County School System. During the summer of 2019, our Digital Learning Specialist attended ISTE so to rethink the status quo and use technology to drive good practice. She was able to join educators from around the world at the most influential edtech event of the year. Fayetteville School teachers were able to learn from these experiences in turn around professional development sessions. Both the Digital Learning Specialist and principal visited Google headquarters, in California, to learn how to advance technology within the school.
Fayetteville School will continue to provide their teachers with job embedded professional development opportunities that increase their knowledge of STEAM, and they’ll provide funding and time each nine weeks for teachers to cross curricular plan so that STEAM lessons can continue to be designed for students. In the future, Fayetteville School plans to increase funding and partnerships with businesses and community stakeholders so that STEAM education can continue for teachers and students.
Area of Focus
Fayetteville is a kindergarten through twelfth grade school. The school operates much like a family support for all students. On any given day, teachers from all thirteen grade levels are found on sporting fields coaching students. Many professional development sessions are held outside the normal school day, during weekly faculty meetings. With the added coaching responsibility, teachers are often unavailable for after school professional learning. Scheduling common planning can also be difficult at a kindergarten through twelfth grade school. It is not always possible to schedule content area teachers for a planning at the same time every day. The lack of frequency in common planning can be a weakness for some content area teachers.
Plans to Improve Area of Need
One plan to improve a continuous program of STEAM-specific professional learning is to utilize volunteer coaches for warm up procedures during the first moments of after school practice. This would allow coaches to attend professional development offered after school hours. This release time would allow coaches the opportunity to learn new strategies as well as stay connected to colleagues. We also plan to improve the frequency of common planning time by utilizing creativity in establishing master schedules. It is our goal that grade level and content areas have common planning on a daily or every other day basis.
Elementary Middle High
Third grade teacher, Amanda Spurling, shared her knowledge of Earth Day and outdoor education with colleagues at the Alabama Science Teachers Association Conference. Mrs. Spurling encouraged fellow teachers to set up a day full of activities that would raise environmental awareness and offer real world application of learning. Teachers at Fayetteville School are continuous learners, and they gladly share their learning with others!
Amy Smith, principal, and Stephanie Brooks, Digital Learning Specialist participated in a national educator coaching program, which included a trip to Google’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. The Dynamic Learning Project is designed to help teachers use technology in the classroom more effectively to benefit students. The training program, which is supported by Digital Promise, EdTechTeam and Google, is “aimed at improving education equity by empowering teachers to leverage technology in powerful ways.”
The DLP work session stressed the importance of equity in education and the need for lessons that energize and engage both students and teachers.
Liz Anderson, head of social impact programs at Google for Education, said, “At Google, we believe in the power of educators. Technology is just a tool; it can only be transformative when it’s in the hands of an educator who uses it to create meaningful experiences for students.”
Talladega County offers a wide variety of STEAM related professional development opportunities for teachers throughout the school year. Faculty at Fayetteville School gladly take advantage of these opportunities in order to expand their knowledge of STEAM components and how to embed them across grade levels and subjects areas. Some of the professional development opportunities offered include, but are not limited to, STEAM by Design, Project Based Learning, and Mastery Connect. Teachers at Fayetteville School are so fortunate to teach for a system dedicated to their continuous learning in all areas, particularly STEAM.
PBL Training and Planning with Peers
Middle school teacher, Lauren Morris, shares her knowledge of the new project based learning (PBL) program and PBL map for Talladega County with colleagues. Lauren explains each section of the PBL process, highlighting the significance of the content section. Lauren shares her expertise during a PBL professional learning day, designed to help teachers plan for the PBLs they’ll be teaching the following year. Project Based Learning encourages students to learn and apply knowledge and skills through engaging, STEAM filled, cross curricular experiences. PBL presents opportunities for deeper learning in-context, and for the development of important skills tied to college and career readiness.Teachers at Fayetteville School are thankful to have administrators who provide time for them to learn and plan. They’re also blessed to have such knowledgeable educators who are willing to provide ongoing professional development to colleagues.
The DLP's primary goal is to enhance teachers' impactful use of technology through challenge-based coaching. The DLP coach works with 8-10 teachers during an 8-week cycle. The teacher selects a challenge, and together the coach and teacher selects and implements strategies to overcome the challenge during that time frame. Differentiation, classroom management, planning and preparation, assessment, and general tech skills are a few common challenges that are chosen. Additionally, all teachers participate in a badging system that recognizes impactful use of technology within their classroom. The program encourages teachers to try a new tech tool and tweet about the effective, and sometimes non-effective, use of the tool. The badging system has increased the use of technology at Fayetteville School and has provided opportunities for collaboration among teachers.
Mastery Connect Training
During professional development, teachers receive training on Mastery Connect, a computer program that helps educators effectively assess core standards, monitor student performance, and report student performance to students, parents, and administrators. Just like students, teachers at Fayetteville School are continuously learning new ways to streamline their work using current technology.
Teachers at Fayetteville School are always participating in continuous programs of STEAM-specific professional learning! Here, teachers attend professional development on how to earn badges! Badges can be earned in many ways, such as training tech helpers for the classroom, having students add evidence of their learning to digital portfolios, and being on a DLP cycle, just to name a few.
Badges encourage growth in technology for teachers and students.
The fishing team worked very hard the first nine weeks to earn personal, classroom, and students badges. They earned the most!!!!! Badges are great ways to encourage growth in STEAM related areas!!
STEAM by Design
All teachers participate in the yearly, system-wide STEAM By Design professional development workshop. Some Fayetteville School educators even present and share their expertise on various STEAM related topics with others! During this day of professional development, teachers are able to choose which STEAM related mini-course is relevant to their content area. Teachers are required to attend multiple sessions in order to get a well-rounded STEAM experience. After the sessions, teachers bring the STEAM information back to their schools and begin using it in their classrooms to foster STEAM lessons and learning experiences for students. Fayetteville High is proud of their educators, who continuously seek to grow in areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math!
Kahoot! is a tool for using technology to administer quizzes, discussions, and surveys in an exciting and fun way in the classroom. We have many Kahoot! educators, levels bronze, silver and gold, at Fayetteville School! Kahoot! offers continuous professional learning for teachers, allowing educators to level up in the program depending on the skills they’ve mastered. Bronze level teachers are able to navigate and search the Kahoot! Platform, discover existing high-quality kahoots, play a kahoot, duplicate, and edit and share games.Silver level teachers can create high quality kahoots from scratch, tailor Kahoot! experiences, and host like a pro, as well as access and analyze Kahoot! reports and data that can be used in reteaching.Gold level educators can form formative assessments. They have mastered the Kahoot! app, and understand how to use Kahoot! for revision. Kahoot! allows educators to gather data about student understanding and knowledge level in a platform that looks and feels like a game to students. Students beg to play Kahoot and always ask before an assessment if there is a Kahoot to use as review! Through continuous professional development offered by Kahoot, FHS teachers are able to keep students engaged while collecting important data. Who says learning can’t be fun?