Nov. 11, 2004 All public schools throughout the St. Thomas-St. John district will be closed Friday, as all district school personnel will be participating in a day-long professional development program entitled "Charting a New Course: Literacy and Leadership," Dr. Emily Carter, Deputy Superintendent for the district, said in a release.
"We are including all personnel," Carter said, "from the commissioner of Education to the cooks at each of our schools. By doing so, we hope to reinforce literacy on all levels throughout the district, standardize our entire approach towards reading and ultimately improve each student's performance."
This program will help to bring the St. Thomas – St. John District in line with the national literacy initiative and, more importantly, with the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act, which specifies that ongoing professional development and teacher certification leaves no teaching professional behind either, Carter said.
While each school has been presenting monthly professional development programs to its staff, this is the first time that all similar staff members from like schools will have the opportunity to converse, train together and become part of a unified approach to improve literacy across the district, she said.
"The training being offered on Friday expands and ties together all professional development training offered up to this point. Friday's session will be the first program that provides our principals, teachers, counselors, coordinators, administrative staff and other allied school personnel with appropriate strategies and assessment measures to incorporate literacy and leadership into every aspect of the educational process. This program will set the tone for future educational goals and the district's strategic plan," she said.
To make this training as meaningful as possible for all participants, district personnel have been divided into the groups who will meet at the following locations, 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.:
-Charlotte Amalie High School: All secondary level teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, foreign language teachers, librarians, administrative staff and health/physical education teachers.
-Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School: All elementary teachers, paraprofessionals and administrative staff. There will also be separate training at this site for music, art, nurses and counselors.
-E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary School: Kitchen staff and custodial workers.
-Ivanna Eudora Kean High School: Security or SRO (security in residence officers) and all school monitors.
"I am very proud of the quality of the program that the district is offering to our staff," Carter said: "We have assembled a well-rounded group of local and off-island experts and anticipate that the attendees will gain significant insight from their proposed literacy strategies and assessment tools."
Presenters include representatives from Learning Point Associates, consultants for the Department's Continuous School Improvement Process; the University of the Virgin Islands; Department of Education district coordinators, selected public school teachers, literacy coaches and nurses; officials from the Occupational, Safety and Health Agency; the Department of Health; the University of Mississippi; the Educational Alliance at Brown University, consultants for the Department's Accountability Initiative; and a consultant from Harcourt – Core Reading Series.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.