Professional Development

Professional Development Readies Teachers to Embrace Technology, Student Needs
Posted on 08/11/2020
Computers and Laptops

The countdown is on for the 2020-2021 school year, and teachers are putting in the work to prepare for the start of school, which will begin in a distance learning model.

There have been more than 41,000 enrollments in the 267 professional development courses being offered to get teachers ready for the shift from classroom instruction to remote learning.

The courses are grouped into bucket offerings to ensure that teachers have a wide variety of materials that will best train them for their classroom, both online and in person. These buckets include courses in Technology Integration, Collaboration and Engagement, Social/Emotional Learning (SEL), Wellness and Safety, Content-Specific Resources, Equity: Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners, Assessment and Progress Monitoring, and Coordinators, Coaches and School Leaders.

All teachers must complete six hours of training prior to the start of school to obtain a “Professional Level” of proficiency in the course offerings as mandated in the Reopening Plan. Those courses must be from four different buckets, with a session from the Content-Specific Resources and a session in Equity included. Certain courses are also specifically recommended for new teachers.

The learning doesn’t stop there, as teachers who choose to grow their knowledge can achieve “Champion Level” by completing a course from each of the remaining buckets for a total of seven, 90-minute sessions. Those teachers who choose to further their leadership skills can obtain “Coach Level” by adding specialization to their training and completing at least four classes in one bucket.

Our hope is that that our teachers feel empowered to start the school year having a better understanding of the tools, resources, and best practices available to engage students in a successful online teaching and learning environment,” said Eva Cwynar, K-12 Mathematics, Science and STEM manager.

Professional development opportunities are available to make teachers more familiar with the Google platform which includes managing Google Classrooms and Google Meets, as well as the transition from face-to-face interactions, and virtual office hours.

Some of the more popular courses include Chrome Extensions for Students with Diverse Needs, the Instructions to SMART Learning Suite to better prepare teachers for the use of the SMART Board technology now in every classroom, and Google Classroom 101.

Prior to the need to move to a digital instruction platform, the District stood well-equipped to make the transition, as the School District has more Google Certified teachers than any school district in the world.

In fact, the School District was recently recognized by Google for its excellence in classroom technology. Twenty percent of teachers in Palm Beach County have earned the distinction of becoming a Technology Trailblazer, and their specialized skills are key in helping other teachers be prepared for distance learning.

All of this work, coupled with the improvements in distance learning for the Fall of 2020, will keep students and teachers Going the Distance Together as we begin the school year like never before.

We are committed to supporting our teachers and students in this new experience and helping them to navigate these new waters until we can safely return to in-person instruction,” Cwynar said. “This experience is new to all of us and we want to ensure that our teachers feel like they have the information and resources available, at their point of need, so that they feel as confident as possible when they start the school year in this distance learning environment.” 

Summer PD 2020 

PD Level Components

The School District of Palm Beach County