LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Passaic Valley Regional High School is in the process of expanding professional staff development for teachers this school year. 

According to Dr. JoAnn Cardillo, superintendent, a blended model for staff development is in the works, beginning with the high school's technology initiative.

"Teachers are providing professional development for peers on a variety of technology techniques in preparation for the 'Bring Your Own Device' initiative," Cardillo said, as part of her superintendent's report at the Sept. 26 Board of Education meeting. "We are embedding storytelling practices in specific English 11 classes, English 12 electives, a co-teaching English 12 class and one public speaking class."

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Cardillo added that the initiatives are made possible through the newest partnership grant through Storytelling Arts, Inc. a non-profit arts and education organization based in Princeton. Teachers receive a progressive approach on how to connect language arts, social studies and fine arts through story elements. 

Last November, the high school was the site for Passaic Valley's very first annual regional professional development day, where teachers from all three districts (Little Falls, Woodland Park and Totowa) joined the high school's teachers in order to take part in learning progressive methods on how traditional storytelling can have a positive on classroom culture. The event was a collaborative project with the four superintendents in the region working together.

"The storytellers will model creative strategies for instruction that supports all learners," she explained, adding that is is a three-year initiative.

Second Annual Regional Professional Development Day

Staff from the three sending districts, along with staff members of the high school, will attend the second annual regional professional development day on Nov. 8. 

"We will meet at here at the high school and provide a variety of class offerings, which will be available to teachers as administrators," Cardillo explained. "This year's keynote speaker is Greg Festa, executive director of the New Jersey Education Computer Cooperative."

Cardillo said she meets regularly with the other superintendents of the facility's sending districts - Dr. Michele Pillari of the Woodland Park School District, Patricia Capitelli of the Totowa School District, and Tracey Marinelli of the Little Falls School District - in order to ensure that all districts are in sync.

"We feel that professional development is key to the support we will need to give to our teachers as we ask them to adjust their practices to meet the needs of a 21st Century education," Cardillo noted. "We meet regularly to support each other and to seek ways to assure that programs we develop moving forward are seamlessly connected to the work we need to do to assure that our students in all four district are well served."

NJIT Teacher Training

The high school also has plans to send their Computer Aided Design teacher to New Jersey Institute of Technology, located in Newark, for a training in computer based design instruction to support the high school's STEM initiatives, according to Cardillo. She added that the high school's web design teacher is also taking a year-long course in the area of web design to get the latest techniques to bring to the classroom.