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Monday, May 16, 2011

New Teacher Professional Development/In-Service Schedule

Teacher developmental days will be changing for the 2011/12 school year.  It will now be two full days in August, three full days during the school year, and on two Wednesdays a month from October to May (16 days during the school year) teachers will arrive 10 - 15 minutes early and work for an hour.  Students will arrive 50 minutes late to school on those 16 days a year.  This is probably not a major imposition to the students and probably not to the parents of middle, junior, and senior high school students, but I believe to the working parents of elementary school students, this may be an issue...  It was discussed before the vote amongst the board members.  Apparently, administration asked two parents how they thought about this program (a junior high or high school parent and a PTA president) and they apparently did not object.  I tried to address the board on this before they voted and the board president, Steve Hyer, refused to allow me to speak because I signed in to speak on that item after a certain point in the meeting.  However, I spoke to the board about it at the end of the meeting, but by then it was too late - it was approved.       

From the 3/28/11 Board Minutes (available on the district website):
"Reports: 6.1
Professional Development Calendar Update: Shawn Ryan & Staci Puzio presented information regarding professional learning plans for the coming school year. These include focusing on the common core curriculum, assessment, data and curriculum management, cultures of thinking and learning, and integrated technology. The development will be job-embedded, sustained and based on readiness, interests and/or learning needs. The calendar will include two full development days in August and three additional days throughout the school year and two Wednesdays per month, October through May, where teachers would arrive 10-15 minutes early and students would report approximately 50 mintues later than ususal to allow for an additional hour of development on these days. Central office and building administrators will also be embedded into this learning process to be a part of the process and help to build stronger relationships and understanding. Mrs. Puzio and Mr. Ryan noted research that supports this type of development. Questions included how sharing will be done across the entire group of teachers, or multiple groups - ILC is one area where educators from across the district work together. They will also utilize technology such as Skype or Google Docs, to share this learning. There will be childcare and other enrichment opportunities available. While there will be a cost for these activities, additional review of the process will be done. This does represent an overall increase in professional development hours, and approximately five to seven minutes per class (secondary) will be reduced to fit this model .

9. Public comments:
Citizen Dawn Schaller commented on the Professional Development calendar update, noting the difficulty for parents when many partial days are utilized. She asked that the district review past practice in changing to fewer days."


  1. The district sent out a broadcast letter to all parents today. It detailed the new developmental day schedule for the 2011/12 school year. If you have concerns about the schedule, email the superintendent and express your opinion.

  2. I have expressed concern about the new developmental schedule and was told the schedule includes the same number of days as last year -- just broken out differently. I do not believe this is true if you look at the schedule. I believe it cuts too much into learning time. How is it going to affect the kids in CSM Tech when they have abbreviated math and science every two weeks? I don't believe Dr. Rock appropriately responded to me, nor do I think parents were involved in this decision. I was told a parent advisory group was involved in the decision. Who are these people and why weren't more Clarkston parents asked to participate?

  3. Cindy,

    The teacher developmental schedule is clearly expanded from this past year and the comments I noted above were taken directly from the 3/28/11 school board minutes off the district website. Therefore, you are not wrong. If someone in the district told you that it was the same number of days as last year, they lied to you. Pull out your school calendar from this past year and compare the developmental days there to what is on the 2011/12 schedule.

    The three full days during the school year for the 2011/12 school year are identical to what was done during the school year in 2010/11. However, the 15 days where the students start school 50 minutes late are all additions for this next school year. I am not sure what the teachers did for development during the summer break, so I can't address that, but I can see you are concerned about the impact to the students' classroom continuity and so was I.

    I believe that it is better for the students if there are full days of developmental teacher training and less impact to the students' classroom schedules.

    I FOIAed copies of the teachers union meeting minutes from this past year and it showed that the teachers wanted this kind of schedule (although I am not sure why). Therefore, I believe it was a bone Dr. Rock threw to the teachers to make them think he is on their side and looking out for them.

    According to what was said in the 3/28/11 board meeting, there were a grand total of two parents in the group that was asked about this schedule change. However, both were very highly involved in PTA/PTO/PTSA - we were told that the rest were employees. It was certainly NOT a parent advisory group. My guess is that no more parents were asked to be part of it because the superintendent didn't want anyone to tell him what he didn't want to hear.

    You obviously got the same message many of us have received from the district. If you are asking about or expressing your opinion about something the district is changing, the district message seems to be that they are listening and concerned, but there is nothing different, nothing wrong, and that we should just move along... It reminds me of the "Jedi Mind Trick" from the Star Wars movies. Dr. Rock may also 'look' like he is listening or concerned, but in the end, he will just do what he wants to do.

  4. So if the teachers are salary employees, why is it they aren't working on Sat or Sun, why is it they don't stay late and complete these activites? Why would your choice be for parnets who have to work to alter their schedule, kids who benifit from a "regular schedule" especially at younger ages, why should they all adjust so this can happen? why wouldn't the district say X amount of Sat or days a year you will work a little extra? Isn't this what salary classification is for? Hard to believe we are jst here for the kids!