The Hopatcong School District’s Professional Development (PD) Program is aligned to state mandates and district goals. This year, the main focus areas for PD include the Common Core Standards, PARCC (new state testing), AchieveNJ (new teacher evaluation), teacher and principal evaluation model called the Stronge Model, Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) and early childhood education.
Teachers and administrators have had in-service workshops on the Common Core Standards, PARCC, new teacher evaluation system and Student Growth Objectives. During the summer, administrators had training on the Stronge Evaluation model. Teachers have had training on the Stronge Evaluation Model as well, from both Stronge Associates and Paul Palek, New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) implementation officer. Several presenters for Hopatcong’s in-services have been from the NJDOE, including Dr. Severns, Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Cacciatore, education program development specialist, both of whom addressed the Common Core Standards and the PARCC Assessment.
Additionally, the District brought in a professor from New Jersey City University, Dr. DeFina who worked with our teachers of grades 2-12 on PARCC readiness. Fellow administrators also provided training workshops as well, specifically, Mrs. Tracey Hensz, Principal of Hudson Maxim School, conducted two in-service sessions for K-1 teachers on the Common Core Standards.
Professional Development also included other in-service topics related to curriculum and assessment. Hopatcong had Renaissance assessment training sessions for teachers and administrators. Renaissance is the new benchmark assessment software to assess student learning. Additionally, at the elementary level, training was provided on the new reading series, “Reading Street” and at the secondary level, SAT training for Math and English teachers.
Hopatcong is determined to provide ongoing Professional Development initiatives throughout the school year. The District has partnered with Rutgers University Early Childhood Academy, where a team of administrators and a teacher will be working with other districts in the area of early childhood education. All of Hopatcong kindergarten teachers are part of the Kindergarten Seminar, multiple professional development sessions being conducted by the NJDOE. In order to provide horizontal and vertical articulation, Hopatcong adjusted teacher schedules to create Common Planning Time at each grade level. These sessions are being conducted by the Curriculum Office on Common Core Standards and PARCC readiness. Finally, ongoing Faculty Meetings addressing such topics as Common Core, PARCC, and Student Growth Objectives are also being held. Staff and administration also attend county meetings for the Anti-Bullying Rights law as well as, town meetings with the Hopatcong Municipal Alliance.
There are workshops for individual teachers and administrators pertaining to content specific learning opportunities such as Advanced Placement Training, Next Generation Science Standards, Reading Fundamentals, Technology Sessions, such as the use of iPads and data security, Safe Schools, Annual School Boards Workshop and Special Education Workshops.
For annual mandated trainings, Hopatcong has a free online professional development program for staff members called Safe Schools with learning modules on such topics as asthma, diabetes, blood borne pathogens, child abuse, allergies, automated external defibrillators, and bullying. We offer learning opportunities for all of our staff including nurses, Child Study Team, Guidance Counselors, pre-school teachers, speech teachers, and our educational support personnel.
Upcoming professional development will take place on March 10th, where Bari Erlichson, the Chief Performance Officer for the NJDOE, will be conducting a session on assessment entitled “Understanding the Performance and Accountability System. On March 17 and April 28, we will have Rosanne Hansel, Education Program Development Specialist at the NJDOE will be working with K-1 teachers on early childhood education.
Moving forward, Hopatcong will continue their work with New Jersey City University and Rutgers University. A new partnership has been formed with William Paterson University entitled “Professor-in-Residence” program whereby interns work with our principals and teachers. This program also offers university workshops for our teachers at no cost.
The District’s culminating plan includes a collaboration with Dr. Severns to offer parent work sessions on PARCC and the Common Core.