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Spring faculty gives feedback on new training program

October 5, 2018

Spring Independent School District is amping-up its focus on faculty training and development for the 2018-2019 school year through a program known as “Get Better Faster.”

District employees had their very first professional development day on Sept. 21, where educators honed their teaching strategies while learning to collaborate more with other teachers. Administrative staff had training sessions as well.

“Spring ISD offered over 50 development sessions across multiple locations in our district to both campus-based and central office employees,” said Pamela Farinas, workforce development executive director.

The “Get Better Faster” program is the basis for the training sessions, focusing on skill-building, prioritizing new teacher development and how to guide a teaching staff, Farinas said.

Three representatives from Cooper Elementary School, Principal Leticia Gonzales, literacy coach Kathy Cromwell and math coach Robert Silvy, gave separate reports during a district work session Oct. 4, on how the training helped their school, including streamlining planning and increasing collaboration.

“I’ve had a much more defined role as far as what my responsibilities are,” Silvy said. “I know what I’m doing when it comes to content … The one thing about the math coaches, and we’ve all been together a very long time in the district, is that we have a very good relationship with each other. It’s not about just our school anymore. It’s the district.”

Spring ISD staff gave their opinions on the sessions’ development specialists and the training program, including ways the system is beneficial, or could be improved. David Mason, principal of Westfield High School, said the development strategies put in place this school year work for both new and old teachers.

“It’s a particular language that we can use to help everybody,” he said. “We understand that this is a process. High school teachers, they’re good. Some of them have established the practices that are really good, but sometimes it’s tough to change. We don’t expect it to be overnight, or the first month. Not even three months.”

Janet Diaz, development specialist for Westfield High School, who previously taught for the school, said she likes coaching the teachers after 17 years of teaching and can actively see the improvement, but does see some difficulties in doing so in a large high school.

“In an elementary school or a middle school we get to meet and talk to each other all of the time,” she said. “At Westfield, I went and introduced myself to all administrators and touched based with them individually, but it’s just so hard in a high school to get everyone in a room. So, I think that’s a challenge.”

The new development tactics will continue to take place at Spring ISD for the 2018-2019 school year.

chevall.pryce@chron.com

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