Tuesday, July 15, 2014
A total of 501 administrators, teachers, and instructional support personnel gathered at the STAR Academy of the Williamsburg County School District for four invigorating days of workshops, professional lectures, and work sessions focused on improving teaching and learning in the Williamsburg County School District.
In its third year, the Williamsburg County School District’s “Summer Instructional Institute” is planned and coordinated by the Office of Instructional Services, with support from the Office of Professional Development. Dr. Bernice D. Cooper, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services, and the Instructional Team began with a vision to implement a summer leadership program for educators similar to those being implemented in other larger and more affluent school districts. The planning team was never deterred by lack of finances or failure, because two key components: motivation and support, were already present.
This year’s institute that was held in June provided educators with opportunities for professional growth while they networked with peers from within the Williamsburg County School District. A focus was also placed this year on having “local experts” from within the school district to conduct and facilitate many of the sessions.
Participants were free to select from over 40 sessions which were presented over the course of four days by master teachers from other school districts, educational consultants, the South Carolina Department of Education, instructional software companies, colleges and universities, book publishing companies, and master teachers from within the Williamsburg County School District. Although educators frequently donate their own personal funds to purchase materials for their classrooms, participants in the Summer Institute received vouchers to purchase classroom supplies from vendors of instructional resources present during the conference to assist teachers in preparing their classrooms for the coming school year.
Workshop and training session topics included: Innovative Methods for Teaching Mathematics, Science, English, and Social Studies; Integrating Technology; Strategies for Teaching Reading; Classroom Management; Educational Television Resources; Preparing for the PSAT, ACT, and SAT; Race to the Top Grant Updates; Individualizing Learning; Instructional Planning; Career and Technology Education; NCAA Academic Regulations; Analyzing Data; WorkKeys, and Targeted Instruction.
This year’s summer institute was sponsored by the Offices of Instructional Services and Professional Development, with support from the Offices of Facilities Management, Administration, and Technology, and the administration and staff of STAR Academy. To demonstrate the “team” approach that is employed in the Williamsburg County School District, Dr. Yvonne Jefferson-Barnes, Superintendent, also served as a session presenter.