Excellence through teamwork permeated this year’s school district professional development conference.
Over 315 teachers, administrators and support staff gathered at the White Oak Conference Center for a day of professional development to recharge their batteries and get them excited about the upcoming school year.
The breakout sessions and networking allowed them to hone their craft as educators also.
Superintendent J.R. Green set the tone for the event and for what he anticipates will be a successful year.
Stressing the creation of a culture of competence, collaboration, trust and respect, Green encouraged all participants to take advantage of the conference and being more efficient in their area of expertise.
He called on the teachers to use the day of professional development to raise the bar for themselves and their colleagues.
“No matter how good you are at something… you can always be better,” Green said.
He said that Fairfield County School District is the place he would rather be because it holds the opportunity to do things that have never been done before. Green acknowledged the image issues the district has had in the past.
He urged the school employees, “Don’t be distracted by the ‘noise’ but get out in the community and show what is going on that is good. I need you to take that message out every day.”
He acknowledged the district has things to work on to become better, as all school districts do, but he urged people to highlight the good things that are going on because emphasizing positives can help change the school district culture for the better.
“I want to take this district from being ordinary to being extraordinary and to be the best district anywhere in the world,” Green said. “We have the ability to do that but we have to believe we can achieve it if it is to be done.”
Green wants the educators to help every student reach his or her maximum personal and academic potential.
“We have to work as a team. There cannot be an adversarial atmosphere within the district (if we are to achieve our larger goals),” he said.
Green called on community members, elders, coaches, parents and grandparents to join in this team to help mold young people and gear them for success. He encouraged them not to sit on the sidelines and contribute to the problems facing society by their inaction but that they should actively assist in nurturing the younger generation.
He said that teamwork has to exist and that no organization that is built on distrust can do great things.
“Parents must trust you have the best interest of your students in mind and students must trust that as well,” he said.
He noted that Fairfield County has been a very distrustful environment but pointed out that in order the change to become extraordinary persons must be willing to move beyond the past and work together from this point forward.
Green wants the district to help unleash the power to empower everyone to do something extraordinary and is excited about the year ahead.
Teachers are enthusiastic about programs at the various schools.
Several teachers at the Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science are working hard to incorporate technology in the classroom. Ipads to us in the classroom at the Magnet school were supplied by Gail Whitfield, and the technology is a key part of the facility being a STEM (Science, technology, engineering, mathematics) school.
“The apps and programs help us teaching technology and engineering topics,” said magnet school teacher Kristin Dychus.
Carlene Enangst is using a chrome book initiative with her students where they have one on one computer interaction in the classroom.
Some of the topics discussed in professional development breakout sessions included bullying awareness, Internet safety, free Google apps for the classroom, school resource officer information and offerings, classroom management, and teaching for employability and job skills.
Green touched on the Latin class that is in the process of being implemented at Fairfield Middle School as an example of out of the box thinking and of taking a chance that could pay off in the long run for the district.