Sulphur Springs Independent School District will be sending 59 district employees to The Daily Five and Café training next fall to supplement English language arts and reading curriculum.
Assistant Superintendent Kristin Monk asked trustees earlier this month for approval to register the 59 teachers and administrators of kindergarteners through fourth graders to attend the two-day training in Fort Worth Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 16-17, taught by two sisters.
“Those ladies are good enough at what they do, that they can set the date and we all come running,” Monk said. “It’s not offered online. There is no way to do it other than attend the training, but it’s well worth it. It is research-based, which is real important for what we do. It is very good instruction that our teachers greatly benefit from and ultimately our students.”
Monk noted that board approval was needed for the purchase because the overall cost will be more than $25,000. The cost per day is $255, per person, with an additional fee added depending on how the transaction is made. Title I funding can be utilized for training costs.
However, Monk pointed out, how the fee is paid will ultimately determine the total amount. If registration is made by credit card, the cost would be $255 per day per person for an overall cost of $30,090. If a purchase order is used the cost could be $34,810 for all 59 employees to attend both days.
“We get a discount on the credit card, but it charges our funds immediately and we aren’t attending until the fall,” Monk noted.
“Our plan is to do the credit card and save a little. Even if we elected to do the PO, we would have 30 days to pay it. In order to get their reservations in and not lose our spots, we’d still have to pay it out of this year’s funds. The good thing about Title I funds is that they run through Sept. 30 so we can use — we’re saying it’s this year’s funds, but we’re going through the training in September,” SSISD Business Manager Sherry McGraw explained.
The district can use Title I funding for the training. An additional $13,000 would also have to be factored in the fall 2017 budget for travel expenses, such as mileage, meals and lodging.
Monk noted that Douglas Intermediate School staff have already attended both days of the training, unless their hire date was after the training date.
All kindergarten through fourth grade teachers and administrators, unless hired after the session, attended a one-day session of “The Daily Five” in the summer of 2016. They will follow up by attending the first day training in the fall as well as the “intervention” piece the second day.
“Attending the training a second year will allow us to polish what we started in elementary ELAR classrooms with The Daily Five. Adding the second day of Café training will allow us to further develop the necessary instructional strategies for the teaching of reading to all students,” Monk noted in the proposal submitted to trustees as part of their board agenda packet.
“We feel that it’s very important for the English language arts and reading teachers to have this training and for the benefit of our students,” Monk said.
“Is it possible to just do day two or do you just get so much more benefit from sitting through day one?” asked SSISD Board of Trustees Vice President Robbin Vaughn.
“It is possible to go to simply day two of the training. Our thing is that we have made the Daily Five such a big part of what all our teachers already do, we felt like they sat through it summer 1 without being able to apply it. We’ve applied it now for a year. We’d like for them to sit back through day one to make sure that it answers questions that have arisen while they’ve gone through the implementation, that kind of thing. We do feel like it is worth it to sit through day one again,” Monk explained.
“There are so many pieces to how we teach children to read. And that’s probably the most important thing we do, especially at those early ages,” Lisa Robinson, SSISD curriculum director, noted sitting through both days provides an important piece to teaching what the kids need.
“What is your plan for new teachers that might be coming in?” asked Board President Leesa Toliver.
“There’s a school in Denton. One of their lead teachers is a trainer that works,” Monk repled. “We have actually brought her in to work with our pre-k and kindergarten, then we are sending some teachers to view kindergarten classrooms there. So, we fill in with her as needed.”
Once SSISD staff become highly skilled, administrators hope to be able to offer their own training in this area to help other districts as well, Robinson added.
Trustees approved the $30,090 training cost at the March 6 school board meeting.
During a technology report, district technology director John Bimmerle noted that SSISD will be hosting a spring leadership conference which more than 300 educators are slated to attend, with about 100 sessions offered. The conference this year is open to area districts. The workshops represent SSISD’s continued efforts to expand professional learning communities by having teachers collaborate with other teachers and in turn classes and the community, to benefit education.
Door prizes — items donated by the community and provided by the school — will be raffled to participants. Businesses are encouraged to set up a tale to communicate with teachers. T-shirt sponsorships will also be available. Any business, individual or group wishing to contribute to breakfast or lunch are also welcome to do so. For more information, contact SSISD administrative offices.
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