“Summer Time and the Learning Is Easy”
As I write this article, I sit at my office computer for the first time in two weeks. I, like many teachers and administrators in the district, have been at professional development for the last two weeks.
I have found summer to be the very best time for us to receive extended learning opportunities and this summer we have been working on a lot of things in preparation for the new school year.
As many of you know, we continue to equip students with devices to assist in their learning and to individualize their instruction. Last year, we provided all students in grades 7 – 10 with iPads and Carolina Alliance for Technology (CAT) students in the grades 11 – 12 with laptops.
This year, we will move the iPads from grades 9 – 10 to grades 5 -6 and will provide all high school students with Dell Chromebooks.
Further, we will transition from Microsoft Office 365 to the Google platform/suite. This platform, though similar to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access, has far more utility with teachers and students. This training ran five different cycles this summer with over one hundred faculty and staff attending.
Additional subject specific conferences included the PE Institute, Project Lead the Way (pre-engineering) Summer Institute, International Literacy Conference, and AP Institutes in Human Geography, Calculus, Probability and Statistics, and Physics.
Districtwide initiatives included Strategic Design, Educational Technology and Working with Students of Poverty (Francis Marion).
As one can tell, summer for us is the time to reflect, rethink, retool, and redesign our total effort. I am honored to work with teachers and administrators who volunteer their time and service to assist our students learn better, deeper, and faster. Over hundred different educators participated in some form of professional development this summer. That’s an amazing testament to the devotion, dedication, and commitment of our faculty and staff.
Of course as we plan for 2017 – 2018, we can only do our part. The parents and students are also two of the critical legs of the triangle. It is our hope students have been reading, resting, and playing and parents have been working with their children on basic literacy.
Before you know it the new school year will be here. We are getting ready.
Are you ready?
(Dr. David O’Shields is superintendent of Laurens School District 56.)