By: Linda Jones and Morgan Sexton
Classrooms may be empty during the summer, but the learning never stops inside the school buildings. Wayne County School employees will be attending close to 30 different trainings and workshops this summer to continue the progress already underway in providing the best practices available to help educate and care for students.
Chief Academic Officer Brian Dishman told the Wayne County Board of Education that he is proud of the progress the district has made to provide teachers with the best resources and instructional training possible. Two years ago, the teaching staff were introduced to instructional non-negotiables to help focus their efforts. Since that time, Dishman said there has been a lot of growth in meeting the standards.
This summer, that general approach is being taken a step further. The non-negotiables are being emphasized in specific subject areas. From math to reading to social studies, teachers are meeting with other educators in their subject to learn best practices for teaching at all levels of understanding. The goal of the trainings is to find a way to reach all students, “no matter where they’re at,” said Dishman.
In all of these trainings, when many of the employees are on their summer breaks, they seem to have an attitude of “What can we do better?” whether it is dealing with instruction, data, technology, or safety. In fact, that willing attitude was underscored during the June Board of Education retirement reception when a variety of the staff members receiving plaques for their 706.5 total years of service said it best.
For instance, retiring Attendance/Transportation Employee /Lady Cardinal Coach Tim Pyles thanked the board for making it possible for so many students to have a variety of opportunities to travel and participate in extra-curricular opportunities. Bus Driver Brenda Harrison expressed how joyful it was to hear one of her now grown student passengers (who happened to be attending the reception) singing on their route each day. Elementary Teacher Nancy Sawyer took pride in the fact that she followed in her parents’ footsteps, fulfilling a career in education. Food Service Director Karen Gibson thanked her dedicated staff that prepares all the meals for the children. Middle School Teacher/FCA Sponsor Alvin Sexton merely said, “I’ve been blessed.”
Many current teachers, coaches, receptionists, and other staff members have already been involved in the summer trainings to keep them up-to-date on everything from first aid to safety to curriculum. Training specialists Zach Boggs and Daven Hoskins, representing Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI), returned to campus to reinforce coaches’ knowledge on health and safety issues they might encounter in their sports programs.
Office personnel benefitted from two days of training on topics that deal with keeping the schools running smoothly and insuring accurate record keeping. The first training focused on front office staff who are often the first face a student or parent sees when walking into the school building. Sharon Fields and Trisha Carroll from the Kentucky Educational Development Co-Op shared information about making the most of Outlook 365 and important strategies for customer service.
On the second day, the Wayne County Schools technology department provided Infinite Campus attendance and data security updates. David Hornsby from the US Postal Service shared information on mail and bulk mail since the school system relies on their services daily.
One of the highlights of their training was a visit from Dan Orman, a training coordinator for Kentucky Center for School Safety. Orman provided school officials with important information about risk evaluation and managing hostile situations within the school. Orman’s core piece of advice to officials was to know the students and know who is in the building at all times. To conclude his training, Orman reassured staff that advances in technology and awareness mean that schools are safer now than ever before.
Administrative Assistant Telene Hancock arranged these clerical professional developments to ensure that staff have the resources to excel in everything from customer service to school safety. “Students are our top priority in a school, and then staff. Office staff offers the support a school needs so teachers can focus on teaching and students can focus on learning. I highly value our office staff because they are the front line in greeting the public and protecting our students. They are the hub of the school,” she concluded.
Faculty and staff alike are doing all they can to ensure that students continue to get the quality education they deserve in a safe and productive environment. At the heart of all of these professional development opportunities lies one thing: a passion for students.
Carter Tucker, Jeanie Sexton, and Malissa Atkinson spent an afternoon in a training for Social Studies teachers titled "Understanding By Design". The teachers want students not only learn facts but also understand big ideas.
Mindy Bell and Laura Crabtree worked on a problem during a session for math teachers. The training allowed teachers to find new ways to solve problems from a student perspective.
Pricipals Angela Ballinger and Chris Patton attended the professional developments
Cheif Academic Officer Brian Dishman led many professional development opportunities
Language Arts teachers had a discussion during their professional development workshop
Site-base decision making council member Volena Troxell looked over school board policies
Telene Hancock provided information to clerical staff
Terri Fairchild (left) and Debbie Bell (right) attended the clerical professional development
Training specialist Zach Boggs of KEMI (left) shared school safety information with coaches
KEMI specialist Daven Hoskins (center) and Athletic Director Kevin Jones (right)
Steve Thompson (right) and Barry Guffey (left) completed a training exercise
Dan Orman, training coordinator from the Kentucky Center of School Safety
Left to right: Debbie Bell, Terri Fairchild, Barbara Simpson-Laws, and Heather Bell participated in the school safety training