Teachers new to Douglas County overwhelmingly appreciated the session offered by the Douglas County Federation (DCF) on Beginning of the Year Classroom Management at DCSD’s new teacher orientation in August. This session was a sliver of the complete course, Foundations of Effective Teaching, which is only a fraction of the professional development courses the DCF is able to offer the district’s educators. Over 96% of participants had positive comments about the course in the evaluation, most echoing sentiments such as this one: As a new teacher it was some of the most important information I needed – what I really wanted to know, or this: I enjoyed the empowerment. I left feeling like I was on top of the teaching world.
For too many years the DCF, and all its research-based professional programs, has been shut out of the district, unable to provide high quality professional development to their peers. Beyond courses on classroom management, reading, math, instructional strategies, and others, we have had opportunities for teachers to learn the best way to use technology in the classroom from a trainer from Google trainers, as well as a lawyer specializing in Special Education Law present and answer questions about meeting the needs of students on IEPs or 504s. Unfortunately, the teachers who weren’t members had no way of knowing about these and other opportunities.
Starting in 1994, the opportunity to work in cooperation with the district resulted in a positive impact on teachers and their students. This is what has been missing in Douglas County for the past seven years, and with the new commitment to partner with the DCF to offer our Foundations of Effective Teaching course, we feel hopeful that we can guide teachers to use research based best-practices in their classrooms. We hope that teachers in DCSD feel supported and will choose to make this district their career destination.
The DCF has said for years that it can deliver professional learning programs that can help teachers teach and students learn–at no cost to the district other than paying their own employees for their time to facilitate the course. It is a positive step that the DCF was finally allowed to share only a fraction of the research-based learning programs it is ready to provide. Now we need to ensure teachers have access to all of these lessons—their students deserve that.