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The Times
  • Grant-provided iPads help teachers obtain professional development

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  • HERKIMER — Teachers from the Herkimer and Central Valley school districts participating in the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness 2 grant through Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES recently received iPads to help them achieve the grant’s goal of improving instructional practice through collaborative, regional, professional development.
    Uses for the iPads include downloading Common Core apps and other apps that can help teachers improve instruction — along with using FaceTime or Skype to talk with each other or participate in professional development, said Laurie Hedges, assistant superintendent for instruction at Herkimer BOCES.
    “The intent of this g rant is to bring capacity through a coaching model,” Hedges said. “Each participant has a professional coach, and in order to cut down on time teachers are out of classrooms, they have been provided with technology that allows them to participate in professional development and coaching long distance.”
    The Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness 2 grant is intended to support school districts in the state in developing leaders and implementing career ladder programs for teachers and principals.
    Herkimer BOCES is leading Herkimer and Central Valley in the Leaders in Educator Advancement and Development Consortium thanks to a two-year $434,792 grant the districts and BOCES received from the state Education Department. The grant was written in partnership with the Capital Region BOCES Grants and Development Service.
    Shari Keller, coach facilitator for the grant, said the iPads will be helpful in many ways for participants such as using FaceTime for coaching, downloading useful apps for the classroom and accessing Blackboard.
    “Technology is built into this whole grant,” she said.
    Consortium participants are partaking in regional Professional Learning Communities facilitated by the Capital Area School Development Association and receiving training and support from the College of Saint Rose Thelma P. Lally School of Education in implementing action research in their schools and classrooms. BOCES educational support services are providing additional training, coaching and support to consortium districts.
    Through a career-ladder program in each district, teachers and principals will share their learning with educators in their home districts — building a network of peer professional development that can be sustained into the future.
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