MT school board works to promote better teaching

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

With the Common Core Standards well underway among various other changes in the educational system, the Marked Tree School Board approved the purchase of a subscription to PD 360, an online professional development tool for teachers.

"It's an on-demand online professional development component for the whole district to use," said Thompson.

PD 360 will cost the district approximately $6,000 to be paid with NSLA federal funds. Thompson believes the system will be very beneficial to teachers in the district, especially with meeting the Common Core State Standards.

"As we are transitioning, a lot of teachers everywhere are questioning what do these standards look like in the classroom, or whether they are meeting the requirements with their teaching methods of a certain framework," Thompson said. "Instead of guessing, PD 360 demonstrates to our teachers different ways to be teaching the common core."

The online system holds thousands of videos concerning everything in the classroom from management, differentiation, project-based learning, and various other topics. Thompson said the teachers featured on the videos go through a rigorous process before their methods are exemplified on the online resource.

"The videos go through several layers of people to determine whether or not it is meeting the required standards," she said. "It allows teachers and outsiders to view the way these standards are meant to be taught, and they can get ideas from using this resource. I think it will help our teachers to grow."

Thompson said PD 360 allows administrators to monitor what teachers are watching, how long they watch it and keep record of it. Teachers are also given access to interact and share their ideas with other educators.

"It is going to be a vital asset for our district," said Marked Tree High School Principal Matt Wright.

In other business, Wright announced the recognition of achievement that Marked Tree Schools recently received. Wright said Marked Tree was mentioned six times on the Outstanding Educational Performance Report.

"It's a huge compliment for our school," Wright said.

Marked Tree was listed as second of the top 5 schools in Northeast Arkansas on the End of Course Algebra exam, ranked 20th in the state on the End of Course Geometry, second in the state for eighth grade math achievement, seventh in the state for eighth grade math and literacy combined, first in Northeast Arkansas for eighth grade math, and third in Northeast Arkansas for eighth grade literacy.

The board also welcomed new member Jessica Fernandez. Fernandez was appointed as member during the October meeting after Mike Dabney resigned from his position on the board.

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