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Monday, January 24, 2011

What is the purpose of staff development days?

Question: What is the exact purpose of “staff development” days? I was told that there is new information, from NYS I assume, that needs to be relayed to the teaching staff. It makes me wonder why school districts spend the money on transportation costs, etc., basically paying for the operational costs for a full day, for a half day of “instruction?” (The quotation marks imply my belief that very little instruction is taking place.) Couldn't all of this information that the staff needs be sent out in an e-mail for personal review? Our kids would get full days of instruction and taxpayer money would be better spent.

Answer: Broadalbin-Perth, like all school districts in New York State, is mandated by the New York State Education Department to provide formal staff development to all instructional staff. Staff development days do not include meetings to provide information to staff that could be disseminated through e-mail. Our instructional staff spends staff development days involved in professional development that includes face-to-face trainings and workshops.

During the 2009-10 school year, the State Education Department granted districts eight shortened school days per year for staff development.

Most recently, staff attended a workshop on educating children on the autism spectrum. Because the district aims to provide the best quality education for every student, it is necessary to hold specific trainings that address the needs of students. The district believes the benefit of trainings is that teachers return to the classroom better-equipped to teach effectively.

Instruction takes place every day that students are in school, even if it is a half day staff development day.
-answered by Stephen Tomlinson, District Superintendent

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