Washougal School District provides resources and support for the ongoing professional development of certificated and classified staff. All professional development activities are based on proven best practices from current educational research, and some training sessions are required by law and offered annually.
The focus on professional development is aligned with the Washougal Board of Directors policy governance Ends, policies which set the direction for educating all students in Washougal District.
The following history shows how staff involvement has shaped a focus on five specific areas of professional development for teachers and administrators in 2009-10.
1. Teacher Evaluation
In 2004-05, a district committee recommended the limited use of a new teacher evaluation system. That first successful effort has been an ongoing focus of professional development from 2005 through 2010.
In 2006-07, under the leadership of the Washougal Association of Educators in a collaborative process with administration, the teacher bargaining unit adopted a multi-level teacher evaluation system. Teacher evaluation as a tool for improving teaching and learning will continue to be a focus in 2010-11, and professional development will be ongoing for administrators and teachers. For more on this, please view section 6 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
2. Professional Learning Communities
Teachers have consistently said that training and time for teaching teams to work together was essential. Supported by the Washougal Association of Educators, this concept has become a reality. In 2007-08, training on how to work effectively in teams was provided to teachers. In addition, with the help of parents and staff, the school calendar provides weekly time for teachers to work together in teams to plan instruction for the varied needs of all students. Professional learning communities continue to thrive in Washougal as principals collaborate with staff to hone teams' skills through training in faculty meetings and in-service days continue to stress the importance of professional learning communities in our success.
3. Health and Fitness
Input gathered from staff and parents has resulted in a K-12 focus on health and fitness, including the addition of physical education specialists at each elementary school. The district was granted a three year federally funded PEP grant, and as a result, a series of professional development activities occurred in 2007-2010 along with the purchase of new P.E. equipment. The PEP grant, which ends in December of 2010, has allowed P.E. and Heath teachers to attend local, state and national conferences as well as work with their colleagues on curriculum mapping and alignment. The changes to PE programs are evident in every building as students experience fitness-based programs in which they set their fitness goals and track their progress.
4. Social Studies
In the spring of 2007, the district was awarded a Teaching American History grant, and as a result, teachers were offered a 3-year training opportunity focused on bringing authentic enthusiasm for learning about the fledgling history of America. In the summer of 2010, approximately 20 Washougal teachers toured Washington D.C. and Philadelphia to learn more about teaching American history as part of this grant's capstone project. In the spring of 2010 the Washougal School District was awarded another three-year Teaching American History grant. The new grant will bring in additional high quality professional development opportunities for teachers.
All elementary and middle school teachers who change levels in the district or are new to the district have the opportunity to attend professional development in the science standards and instructional materials. Additionally, three elementary teachers and two middle school teachers participate in the ESD 112 Science Liaison program. In that program, they gain valuable information that they share at their respective schools.
The district is offering a dozen technology trainings throughout the year during the 2012-2013 school year. Topics include transitioning to Google Sites from TeacherWeb, PowerPoint, iMovie in the Classroom, Thinkfinity Research Strategies, Webquests, and a shorter version of the Document Camera class taught in past years. Many teachers take advantage of these opportunities and learn both productivity applications as well as programs and resources that they can use to increase student use of technology in their own classrooms. Links to individual classes in the Tech series are in the left sidebar of this page.
During the 2008-2009 school year, all elementary and middle school teachers received training in content as well as use of the new math standards. Committees at each grade level worked on developing activities and alignment. The high school participated in a MAP Grant which allowed them to work closely with a consultant to improve student learning. The valuable learnings from those trainings continue to be applied. Math and science teachers from Jemtegaard and Washougal high school are participating in the Math and Science Teaching Project (MAST) between 2009 and 2012. This project, funded by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the US Department of Education, aims to increase student achievement by deeply engaging in algebra and physics content by having middle school, high school and community college teachers working together. It provides professional development for teachers as well as work within collaborative inquiry teams. Additionally in 2010-2011, teachers of integrated Algebra I and II are receiving professional development on more interactive instructional materials to increase student achievement in that arena.
8. Differentiated Instruction Training
For the fourth year, the district is providing teachers with classes on differentiated instruction. Through these interactive classes the teachers gain new techniques and skills to reach all learners in the classroom.
9. New Teacher Induction
Washougal School District is fortunate to be participating in the Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST) Grant through the Educational Service District 112 during the 2010-2011 school year. Each first and second year teacher is assigned a mentor who has received training through OSPI on mentoring practices. New teachers and mentors have the opportunity to attend classes at the ESD. This grant allows our new teachers to receive the support they need during this important time in their careers.
10. Positive Behavior Intervention Supports
Jemtegaard and Hathaway school personnel are being trained in Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. The purpose of this training is to assist school teams in developing a comprehensive system to address students with behavioral concerns, primarily focusing on providing services sooner rather than waiting for the behavior to become so problematic that it adversely affects learning for the student or fellow classmates.
11. CAPSTAR Training
Early education providers are receiving training about autism via Portland State University. This training module, called CAPSTAR (Comprehensive Autism Program using Strategies for Teaching Based on Autism Research) was designed to include the components that research shows are needed to improve outcomes for young children with autism spectrum disorders, including: individualized instructional programs, the use of curriculum designed specifically for children with autism, instruction both at school and home, highly trained staff, and training for parents to embed interventions into the child’s home routines.
12. ENVoY Training
In November, 2010 and January, 2011, teachers can attend Michael Grinder's ENVoY training as well as his workshop "A Cat in the Doghouse." Through those classes, teachers will learn high-yield strategies for classroom management and reaching all learners in the classroom.