A teacher working on a laptop

Going Behind the Scenes: Teachers Head Back to the Classroom

Monday , August 23 , 2021

Early release days and professional development go hand in hand throughout the school year. During these half days, PVSchools teachers and staff head back to the classroom to participate in schoolwide professional development and professional learning communities (PLC).

“As a district, we are given six early release days during the year. Three days focus on PLC, and three focus on professional development. Principals and teacher leaders work with a leadership team to plan, dig into school goals, and create professional development opportunities to support the goals. Behind the scenes, the team prepares topics, strategies, and skills to tackle the goals for the school year,” says Andrea Morici, director of Professional Development. 

The Professional Development Department creates new courses on specific topics and new state laws throughout the school year. For example, this year, teachers and staff will have access to several course options on ARS § 15-717.02 regarding prohibited instruction and its impact on teaching the History and Social Studies Standards. Additional resources for principals and teachers designed to help them understand the new law will also become available. Other new course offerings include Best Practices in Curriculum and Instruction, Developing the Whole Child, Classroom Management, and Student Engagement. These classes are offered in various modalities to meet the needs of all – in-person, virtual, and on-demand.

Professional development for teachers is beneficial to students in many ways. When professional learning is embedded in the school day, educators can develop the knowledge and skills to address students’ learning challenges. Ms. Morici explains, “In public schools, our goal is to impact student learning through professional development opportunities. Student learning and achievement increase due to high-quality and engaging professional development that focuses on the adopted curriculum is intentional, data-driven, and addresses student needs. As with most professions, staff, teachers, and principals need to constantly sharpen their skills and engage in learning new ways to meet the needs of all students.”

Early release days are an excellent way for teachers to create cohesive plans for subject area PLCs. Teachers need to meet frequently to ensure the curriculum is taught at the same pace and intensity across grade levels and departments. “Taking time to look critically at student work in PLCs helps our teachers ensure consistent rigor throughout teams. PLCs also allows teachers the opportunity to share their best practices and teaching strategies while focusing on student data,” says Ms. Morici.

Professional Development Days with Early Release for the 2021-22 School Year:

  • Tuesday, August 31, 2021
  • Tuesday, October 5, 2021
  • Tuesday, December 7, 2021
  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022
  • Tuesday, February 15, 2022
  • Tuesday, April 5, 2022