First-ever regional training session |

First-ever regional training session

by Teri Vance

Representatives from three school districts will come together today to continue the first regional training session ever to be held at the computer center at Carson High School.

Teachers were selected as trainers from each school within the three districts.

In a Friday night session and an all-day one today, the teachers will be taught how to implement and assess recently formed state educational standards.

The teachers will in turn train the other teachers of their districts.

“It’s a training of trainers,” explained Carson City School District Superintendent Jim Parry. “It is designed to prepare trainers to teach content and performance standards to all teachers.”

In the last legislative session, funding for four professional development programs was established to carry out the state educational standards that were mandated in 1997 and adopted in 1998.

“As we put into place new standards and assessments, the next step is to provide professional development for teachers,” said Roy J. Casey, assistant superintendent of Douglas County.

In order to provide the professional development, Casey worked with legislators while he served with the State Department of Education, to form programs to aid in that development.

Nevada was divided geographically into four programs.

Carson City, Lyon, Douglas, Churchill and Mineral counties form part of the Western Regional Professional Development Program.

Teachers from Carson City, Douglas and part of Lyon counties will attend this session and Churchill, Mineral and the rest of Lyon counties will attend a session at Silver Springs Elementary School Jan. 21-22.

Kathy St. Clair, the district’s liaison to the WRPDP, said she thinks the program will be a success.

“The Western Regional Development Program will set forth a very powerful model,” she said.

She said that unlike other training sessions that last for a couple of hours and the teachers are left to try to incorporate them into their style of teaching, this system allows for follow-up.

“There’s going to be teachers in each school to serve as mentors,” she said. “It will be an on-going program, not just a one-time thing.”

Larry Marlow, an eighth-grade math teacher from Dayton Intermediate School, said he chose to be a trainer in order to achieve unity within the region.

“If they’re going to require that we meet all these new standards, we have to be able to talk to each other and make sure we’re on the same page,” he said.

Personal reasons motivated other teachers.

Smith Valley sixth-grade teacher Vonda Franklin said she wanted to enhance her own professional growth.

“I have a hard time talking in front of people and now I’ll have to get up in front of the whole staff and teach them what I learned,” she said.

Evaluation will also be an important step in the process.

“We have in place a really stringent evaluation system for these programs,” St. Clair said.

She said that the teachers involved in today’s session will evaluate the training and four months later, all teachers will evaluate the program. An education laboratory in San Francisco will also evaluate the program.

Although St. Clair said she feels the program is important she said she felt that most teachers were teaching very close to the state standards.

“Most teachers are going to find that they already teach lots and lots of the standards,”she said. “We just have to identify the small holes.”