Robbinsdale Area Schools Try Different Approach to Teacher Training
On Monday, class was in session in the Robbinsdale School District. Only in this case, there was not a single child in sight.
The day served as a professional learning day for all of the district’s teachers, an opportunity to provide educators with additional tools to use in the classroom.
“We have some teachers that have been teaching for 20 years and then we also have teachers that are, it’s their first year teaching,” said Jean Braun, talent development coordinator for Robbinsdale Area Schools. “We wanted to have a variety of choices to meet the needs of all of our teachers.”
Giving teachers the opportunity to hone their skills is not a new concept, but this year, Robbinsdale decided to take a slightly different approach.
“Over the years we’ve had teachers request specific types of training, and our curriculum construction department doesn’t have the capacity to meet all of those needs,” said Angela College, a professional learning coordinator for Robbinsdale Schools. “So we’ve been kind of empowering our teachers to facilitate learning that they are experts in.”
In other words, many of the teachers led workshops and educated their peers. Staff members had 70 sessions from which to choose, and more than 30 of these sessions were taught by current teachers.
District leaders say it’s hard to take a one-size-fits-all approach when you have 900 licensed staff members, but by using this model, they can do more targeted training.
“That’s exciting because then they come out satisfied with the professional learning, and they feel empowered to start implementing the strategies that they’ve learned in their classroom,” College said.
Strategies that, in the end, will ultimately benefit the students enrolled in Robbinsdale schools.
“We’re trying to make it like a really fun thing that teachers want to come to and look forward to learning,” said Braun.