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 shows how staff involvement has shaped a focus on six specific areas of professional development for teachers and administrators.
1. Teacher Evaluation
Washougal teachers and school administrators work within the CEL 5D+ instructional model as the evaluation system required by state law. The district provides staff training to prepare teachers for the Professional Growth and Evaluation System or PGES.
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.
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 offers professional development and trainings on technology during new teacher orientation and staff development activities. Topics are generated from teacher interest surveys, and use WSD staff as the facilitators.
5. 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 2014-2015 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.
6. Positive Behavior Intervention Supports
All 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.
7. Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID)
The district has invested in the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) program, which was designed to foster the academic and behavior skills students need to succeed in college, including job readiness skills like organization, time management, and critical thinking. The origins of the program focused on students from lower income and racial and ethnic minority families who were underrepresented in colleges. AVID includes teacher training focused on high expectations, providing the additional help students may need to believe in themselves, and building confidence for students to pursue rigorous coursework to prepare for college. Implementing this framework in a schoolwide setting builds every students’ capacity to achieve more.