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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sikeston R-6 plan serving as model for state schools

Friday, July 28, 2006

Professional development plan

SIKESTON -- When it comes to professional development, teachers and administrators at Sikeston R-6 must be doing something right.

In the spring, the district's professional development plan was selected to be used as a sample for medium-sized school districts in the state's manual, "Missouri Professional Development Guidelines for Student Success."

Julie Hodges, Sikeston R-6 professional development chairperson and teacher, said the district's professional development committee was very surprised when they learned the plan would be used as a model for the state.

"We got our manuals and started counting the number of pages our district was used as an example -- and it was about 20 pages," Hodges said. "... It's an honor for other people to 'steal' our ideas."

The purpose of professional development is to help school districts and their teachers improve instruction so students can achieve at higher levels.

"It's ongoing," Hodges said about professional development training. "It keeps us up-to-date to help our students."

Junction Hill C-12 in West Plains was selected to be used as the small district sample, and Francis-Howell R-3 in St. Charles was chosen as the large district example.

"We were very excited when we saw Sikeston in there (the manual)," said Cheri Fuemmeler, director of the Southeast Regional Professional Development Center in Cape Girardeau. "Through our center, we utilized that fact and referred our (95) other districts to Sikeston as a reference."

Those guidelines in which Sikeston is represented is the initial plan that will serve for the next five years for the state's Fourth Cycle Missouri School Improvement Plan, Fuemmeler said.

Dr. Larry Bohannon, assistant superintendent of professional development for Sikeston R-6, said other districts in the region have already looked to Sikeston for assistance in preparing their PD plans.

"I've had school administrators e-mail me asking, 'Would you tell me what you do for this and how do you get that?'" Bohannon said.

Hodges said she's also been approached by her peers with PD questions at various professional development meetings.

State law requires one percent of Sikeston R-6 revenue from the Foundation Program be used for professional development designed to help the district meet the objectives of the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, Bohannon pointed out.

"If you don't use it, you lose it," Bohannon said about the funding. Professional development is too big of an opportunity for teachers not to use all of the available funding, Bohannon said.

"It keeps us fresh and abreast of the new techniques and new research-based strategies available," Bohannon said.

A dual committee for professional development was developed in the district years ago and meets monthly to discuss current circumstances in each building.

"Teachers on this committee are elected by their peers, and they really are some of the finest in the district. They are willing to try and do and I couldn't ask for anymore," Bohannon said.

And committee members feel the same about Bohannon.

"Dr. Bohannon has put a lot into it. He's the driving force. The teachers do a lot of work, but Dr. Bohannon is the driving force," Hodges said.

Even though it's being used as a role model for the rest of the state, Sikeston's PD committee will continue to increase its professional development.

On Aug. 3 the district will conduct its annual professional development workshop, where the committee will set new goals and a focus for the upcoming school year.

And at the request of the PD committee, the Sikeston school board added four more professional development training days to the calendar this school year.

Today educators are finding professional development is key, Fuemmeler said.

"There are so many areas that are targeted for school districts and so many needs they have," Fuemmeler said. "We're (Southeast RPDC) able to provide some of the cutting-edge programs offered."