Inter-District Collaboration for Professional Development 

For thousands of students in Wyckoff a minimum day on Columbus Day meant more time to enjoy an autumn afternoon. But for the District’s teachers it provided an opportunity to learn from each other and from counterparts who visited from another Northern New Jersey district.

About 60 staff members from kindergarten through 8th grade in Harrington Park made the half-hour drive to join about 200 of Wyckoff’s teaching staff gathered at Eisenhower Middle School. Teachers chose sessions from nearly two dozen learning options offered in each of  three time periods. The presenters included 17 teams of Harrington Park teachers and 20 teams of Wyckoff teachers.

Eisenhower math teacher Sarah Clooney shares her “escape room” activity with colleagues from Wyckoff and Harrington Park.

Stacey Linzenbold, Wyckoff’s director of special projects, spearheaded the effort with Principal Jessica Nitzberg and Vice Principal Ross Herbert of Harrington Park. Linzenbold says the afternoon required a lot of planning and coordination, but was worth it. “Teachers were very positive,” she says. “Comments included how nice it was to see what's going on in another district and speak with people who had new ideas or tried something new.”

Linzenbold says Wyckoff’s relationship with Harrington Park extends back several years to that district’s pioneering teacher-evaluation program, which is called Self Directed Growth Plan (SDGP). It allows faculty to trade the traditional periodic observation by a principal for an opportunity to work with colleagues to devise and implement a new approach in the classroom and measure its impact by collecting data.

Teachers who were part of SDGP projects in the two districts were the vast majority of the Columbus Day presenters. Presentations ranged from an “escape room” activity in one math class to the use of video interviews as a means of assessment in science and Spanish. Another team of math teachers shared videos of themselves that they’ve made so students can see over and over again how a problem is solved. And health teachers at Eisenhower showed off new classroom furniture that allows students to exert energy while they’re learning.

“The teachers really do put so much energy and time into their projects,” says Linzenbold. “So it is worthwhile that teachers can learn from them rather than reinvent the wheel.”

Posted by thomas.deloughry On 12 November, 2019 at 3:54 PM  

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