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A Productive Superintendent’s Conference Day at Bedford Central Schools

clerical staff sits in on a training

While students had the day off for Election Day earlier this month, Bedford Central School District teachers and staff were on-site for a productive Superintendent’s Conference Day.

“Throughout the school year, we have four Superintendent Conference Days: two days to launch a new school year and two dedicated days for professional learning,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Amy Fishkin. “Planning for these days is critically important to make sure that all our faculty and staff are given time for meaningful, collaborative professional learning.”

The day was filled with just that. Elementary teachers had opportunities to dig into new resources including Bridges in Mathematics materials, science investigations and decodable texts. Elementary librarians and secondary English language arts and social studies teachers had the opportunity to learn about the Science of Reading from staff developers from the Winward Institute. There was training for teacher aides and clerical staff on supporting their roles, Stop the Bleed training for safety monitors and an Adaptive Physical Education training that was a collaborative effort of the Physical Education and Special Education departments.

“There was a good energy in the room,” one principal said. “Teachers were hard at work and utilizing the time effectively.”

A feedback form after the day was over showed that one of the things staff members valued the most about the day was the time they had to collaborate with colleagues.

“Today was an amazing day,” said one response. “We were able to long-term unit plan as a grade level, and meet with service providers to discuss student needs and plans for adaptations, modifications and Universal Design for Learning. We accomplished so much of what we rarely have time to do: meet, organize and plan together. Best Superintendent’s Conference Day ever!”

Fishkin says she likes to compare teaching and learning to an iceberg: parents and community members usually get to see what’s on top. What’s underneath is the massive amount of behind-the-scenes work that goes into making that learning happen. Professional learning days are an integral part of that process.

“A huge shout out to our faculty and staff for their incredible dedication, professionalism and collaboration making it a very productive and positive day,” Fishkin said.

The Winward Institute provides literacy training