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Summer school for teachers

Mid-Del teachers participate in the district’s Toolbox Tuesday workshop. The paid training program offers teachers the opportunity to improve their skills during the summer months. (Photo by Stacey Boyer)

Mid-Del educators taking advantage of paid summer training programs

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

School is out for summer.

But that doesn’t mean the learning has stopped.

Hundreds of Mid-Del teachers have been back in the classroom this summer for professional development training.

The district hosted a professional learning conference for principals and educators the first week of summer break and is offering a new weekly training called “Toolbox Tuesdays.”

Teachers are paid for attending the summer training programs and have the opportunity to strengthen their skills with technology and other areas.

“Coming out of a pandemic year, we’re trying to prepare our teachers so they better feel like they can support students this fall,” said Cordell Ehrich, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “That includes teaching on trauma, talking about how we do digital instruction and preparing to have devices for all students in pre-K to 12.”

During the professional learning conference, educators learned how to work collaboratively to better serve their students. The conference took place at Midwest City High School and included pre-recorded video sessions with education experts as well as small group breakout sessions. Ehrich said they improvised since traditional in-person conferences are not being held at this time.

“We know that there’s power when we’re together in person, so we basically bought licenses for everyone to access the videos,” Ehrich said. “And they will work together on how they’re going to implement this process into their buildings.”

About 185 people attended the professional learning conference. Toolbox Tuesdays has drawn several hundred teachers each week.

“The coolest part is that after the hardest school we’ve probably ever had, all these teachers showed up the next week [for summer training programs],” Ehrich said.
Toolbox Tuesdays largely focuses on technology issues and helping teachers with Canvas, a learning management software program used by the district. But they often touch on other areas such as trauma and crisis informed instruction.

Sarah Smart, a second-grade teacher at Steed Elementary, said she hopes the training will help her become more skilled and comfortable with programs such as Canvas.

“There is so much new stuff for next year with each student having a device,” she said. “There are so many more opportunities to use all these programs together.”

Many of the presentations are led by fellow teachers.

“Some of the teachers share about different topics they’re interested in,” Ehrich said.

Teachers are free to attend as often as they choose.

The district is using federal COVID relief funds for the paid training.

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