By Karen Billing
The professional instruction for teachers that goes into transitioning from a “sit and get” classroom to the “create and learn” classrooms stressed by the Common Core State Standards has been extensive for the Del Mar Union School District.
DMUSD teachers have been going through Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI), a professional development program that seeks to increase student achievement and conceptual thinking with an emphasis in math instruction. CGI was adapted by the district in 2011 as a way to prepare for Common Core.
According to Shelley Peterson, assistant superintendent of instructional services, this school year a total of 220 teachers will be out of the classroom for professional development. Teachers are grouped in different “cohorts” for their training.
There are 35 teachers in cohort one who will have two training days this year; cohort two includes 48 teachers with five training days; cohort three is 83 teachers with five training days; 21 sixth grade teachers have four days of training; and 33 kindergarten through sixth grade teachers took five days over the summer and have two additional days during the school year.
There will also be an additional grade level support day in December or January. If needed, some new teachers must participate in a Chromebook articulation day.
Peterson said the most a teacher will be out of the classroom is seven days, the maximum scheduled by her department. Of the 180 instructional days in the teacher calendar, that represents less than 5 percent of the time out of their classrooms.
Peterson said they respect the fact that teachers need to be with their students but the training is necessary.
“We can’t hand the teachers a guide and expect them to be able to just launch into Common Core,” Peterson said, noting due to the pedagogical shifts in instruction, teachers need that ongoing training.