The Nelson Elementary School staff
participates in professional development opportunities which impact
school improvement issues on a school-wide level. This allows us to use
our financial resources wisely and provides us with a shared
professional vision that fosters school-wide collaboration and support.
We are proud of our commitment to include hourly teaching staff in these
initiatives to ensure they have the necessary tools to guide student
instruction. We also strive to share monetary resources and training
experiences with neighboring schools as applicable.
We were one of the first practicing Responsive Classroom
Schools in SAU 29 and are now in our fifteenth year with this model.
All full-time staff have attended week-long institutes, as well as the
annual National School Conference, in a continuing effort to build upon
our existing strengths. When hiring new staff, candidates must possess a
strong background in social curriculum and a strong belief in the
philosophy of Responsive Classroom as it is the backbone of our work with children.
When problem solving and an emphasis on process moved to the forefront of mathematical instruction, we chose to adopt the Everyday Mathematics
curriculum because of its national recognition for being strong in
these areas. We credit the use of this program for our consistently high
math scores on state testing year after year. We remain committed to
this program and provide on-going professional development in this area.
We trained for two
years with Dr. Carol Tolman, a nationally recognized literacy
specialist, to provide our teaching staff with a strong background in
the building blocks of language acquisition, and to help further
strengthen our students' reading and spelling skills.
Technology training for our staff is currently focused on work with the Promethean Boards.
All teachers have attended trainings and are using this tool in their
daily instruction. Our most knowledgeable staff have presented at other
schools and are serving as "in-house consultants" for our beginners.
We are now in the
secondary stages of focusing upon improving student writing. Even though
our students perform well in open-ended writing questions, we still
consider it to be our relative weakness. As a result, the teaching staff
has attended numerous workshops on 6 Traits Writing Program and a local consultant has been contracted to help us deepen our understanding of this approach.
Although we are not a school
who has bullying issues in the traditional sense of the word, our
recent professional development opportunities in this area have allowed
us to identify what might be considered precursors to bullying. Our
newly developed school leadership team (composed of fifth and sixth
graders) have educated our student and parent community about the
various aspects of bullying behavior.