Twenty-six third and fifth grade teachers from the Public Schools of Robeson County participated in the Tools for Teachers professional development sessions at UNC Pembroke June 25-26.
They engaged in activities that helped them become familiar with the revised math standards and the materials that are being developed to support their implementation. Writers for the Tools for Teachers project, Robin Hiatt from Johnston County Schools and Susan Copeland from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, led the sessions.
The teachers who attended the professional development expressed appreciation for the activities and the materials.
“The lessons are great to guide teachers to know and teach what students need to know,” shared one participant.
“I loved the in-depth look at the new standards,” shared another. A third reflected, “This PD will impact my classroom because now I will make sure to break down and explain why these strategies are useful.”
One participant summed up their thoughts with “The whole county needs to attend this PD!”
Dr. Kay Pitchford, assistant professor of Elementary Education at UNCP, coordinated with PSRC central office officials Catrina Bailey, Dr. Robert Locklear, and Myra Warriax to provide this special professional development experience.
This lucky group of teachers was the first outside the main project to be exposed to the new materials. As such, they were also asked to provide feedback to assist with the continued development and improvement of resources.
“I was excited and grateful to be able to offer these sessions to the teachers,” Pitchford said. “I wanted to make sure that they were introduced to the standards and resources early so that they could begin thinking about the changes in the standards and how to use the resources to help their students learn.
“It was very important to me that PSRC teachers were included in this project and that we could gather feedback from teachers who were seeing the materials for the first time.
“I am pleased that they found it useful and I hope that we can extend our partnership to include additional opportunities for teachers to revisit the critical topics we discussed over these two days.”
The Tools for Teachers NC K-5 Math Collaborative MSP project consists of partners from four IHEs, eight districts, and two charter schools across the state. UNCP serves as the lead IHE in the project, with Appalachian State University, Meredith College and UNC Charlotte serving as additional partners.
District leaders and lead teachers who serve on writing teams for each grade level in the project have prepared and delivered over 120 hours of professional development for about 75 teachers over the past year.
The writing teams also work with IHE faculty, project leaders, and participating teachers to revise and create materials for the 2017 state math standards that will be implemented in the fall. Dr. Pitchford and Kelly Delong of Richmond County Schools serve as Co-PIs of the Tools for Teachers NC K-5 Math Collaborative.