Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Professional Development

40-District Event in Pa. Draws 8,000 for Staff Training

By Bess Keller — November 15, 2005 1 min read

It was big, but no one’s been able to say the biggest.

When roughly 8,000 teachers from 40 school districts in suburban Pittsburgh attended some 480 workshops last month, Pennsylvania educators were pretty sure their state had never seen such a colossal professional-development event. Yet claiming a national superlative would be risky, since no organization appears to keep tabs on such gatherings across the nation.

“It was unique to the state,” ventured John D. Esaias, who coordinated the program.

The massive event grew out of a plan, put together by area superintendents, aimed at increasing student achievement across all 42 districts in Allegheny County. The leaders saw the undertaking as a way to encourage teachers to share classroom practices, especially around the teaching of reading, writing, and mathematics in every subject.

The Oct. 10 affair was originally going to involve maybe 20 districts, “but just mushroomed,” said Sarah Zablotsky, a spokeswoman for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, an educational services agency for the county that helped organize the day. Eventually, more than 40 local organizations added to the list of workshops, and four local foundations underwrote the project with $100,000. Districts also anted up $11 per participant, a bargain price, experts in professional development said.

Teachers applauded the district cross-pollination, according to Mr. Esaias. But it’s too soon to gauge what the long-term effect might be, he said. The plan envisions workshop groups meeting again and participants visiting each other’s classrooms.

That’s the kind of activity that should be encouraged, said Stephanie Hirsh, the deputy director of the National Staff Development Council, an Oxford, Ohio-based membership organization promoting on-the-job training for education professionals. The field is turning away from single-shot workshops and outside expertise in favor of staff development embedded in the life of a school.

“There’s a place for these kinds of experiences—they build awareness and establish future networks,” Ms. Hirsh said. “But everything is really contingent on what happens after this one day.”

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Whitepaper
Developing Professional Practices to Improve Student Outcomes Through Professional Learning Communities
This paper outlines the most effective ways for educators to develop their professional practices and improve student outcomes through pr...
Content provided by Learning Ally
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Whitepaper
COVID's Impact on K-12 Teaching and Learning
See more survey results and learn what other educators are prioritizing for 2021.
Content provided by Whetstone Education
Professional Development Q&A How to Bring 'Surprise and Delight' to Virtual Teacher Training During COVID-19
Dyane Smokorowski wants people who run PD sessions to make them so engaging that educators get FOMO if they don't sign up.
8 min read
pickleball IMG
Getty Images
Professional Development Why Personalized Learning Is Struggling During COVID-19
Tailoring lessons to individual students’ academic needs and personal interests might be getting pushed to the backburner, out of necessity.
9 min read
Educators say one-on-one and small group instruction are suffering in remote, hybrid, and socially distanced learning environments.
Educators say one-on-one and small group instruction are suffering in remote, hybrid, and socially distanced learning environments.
E+/Getty