Glassboro School District Gains National Attention for Its Professional Development Schools
Visitors from Across the Nation Will Make a Pre-Conference Visit to Glassboro Schools as Part of the National Association for Professional Develpment Schools' February Conference
Glassboro School District has gained national attention. The National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) selected the district as a destination for a pre-conference visit ahead of the organization’s February 12-16, 2020, national conference in Atlantic City. Pre-conference participants will travel to Glassboro schools to observe the four pillars of PDS work in action: 1) enhancing Pre-K -12 student achievement, 2) providing Pre-K - 12 faculty and staff with professional development related to school needs, 3) helping Rowan University clinical interns develop professionally, and 4) creating and implementing school research under the guidance of a university faculty member. J. Harvey Rodgers, Dorothy L. Bullock, Thomas E. Bowe and Glassboro High schools are already Rowan University PDSs. Glassboro Intermediate School voted to become a PDS as well. This places the school district on the fast track for becoming a Professional Development District (PDD).
J. Harvey Rodgers School
Many exciting things are happening at J. Harvey Rodgers School. Although Rodgers said goodbye to Rowan University Professor-in-Residence (PIR) Gina Heller, the school is happy to welcome Johari Sykes-Ratliff as the new PIR. Rodgers is buzzing with excitement this year over the Pre-K 4 program’s expansion to a full-day schedule and the state approval of Preschool Education Aid for the district. The scheduling change will bring more inquiry-based learning and exploration to the instructional day. Last school year, Rodgers’ PDS Steering Committee, consisting of the PIR, principal and teachers/staff, set a goal of implementing purposeful play into the kindergarten schedule. Kindergarten teachers incorporated five choice centers (dramatic play, science/discovery, blocks, writing/literacy/art, and fine motor) into their school day. The centers provide students with developmentally appropriate activities to build essential skills for 21st Century learners. The PDS Steering Committee provided professional development opportunities to make the centers a success.
Dorothy L. Bullock School
PDS initiatives are also moving along at Dorothy L. Bullock School. Although Bullock said goodbye to PIR Eshe Price, this school year Bullock welcomed its new PIR, William Rozycki. This past spring, Bullock hosted the very first Glassboro Professional Development District (PDD) collaboration meeting. As a result, Glassboro administration, liaisons, and PIRs created district-wide PDD goals on Social Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL strives to educate the whole child. It provides students with skills and techniques to reduce stress, manage their emotions, relate to others, set goals, and make positive decisions. Bullock’s PDS goals support an SEL Focus. The school’s PDS Steering Committee gathered ideas during a field trip to a sensory room at the Barclay Early Childhood Center in Cherry Hill. According to Bullock Principal Rich Taibi, next month Bullock will transform a classroom into a Zen Den that teachers, students, and the Hollybush Stars After School program can use for meditation and yoga. Taibi also met with Dr. Nicole Edwards, from Rowan University, to collaborate on ideas for the school’s Positive Behavior Supports and SEL initiatives.
Thomas E. Bowe School
Thomas E. Bowe School teachers Andrea LoCastro and Lisa Rencher presented information on PDSs and their experience on Bowe’s PDS Steering Committee at the 2019 NAPDS in Atlanta. Last school year, Bowe’s PDS Steering Committee initiated a variety of activities to support and showcase the academic and social success of students transitioning from self-contained to general education classrooms. In keeping with the committee’s focus on student transitions, co-PIRs, Drs. Brent Elder and Casey Woodfield, worked with Bowe Principal Craig Stephenson and other building/district administrators to organize school visits for students transitioning from Bullock to Bowe and from Bowe to Glassboro Intermediate School. The committee also eased transitions for all students receiving special education services by working on Fast Facts for the students’ new teachers and paraprofessionals. Fast Facts communicate suggested supports and students’ strengths and needs. These can then be used to help students as they transition between different subjects and classroom environments.
Glassboro High School
At Glassboro High School (GHS), the PIR, Dr. Reginald Hickman, and the rest of the GHS PDS Steering Committee researched and brainstormed what SEL should look like in a high school, shifting the PDS focus slightly to pay more attention to the arrival of this year’s freshman class that has been taught within the SEL framework in previous years. The committee purchased several standing desks to enhance learning for students who have difficulty sitting for the entire block. They also decided to create a “chill space” that can be used as a calming area of the building. In addition, Dr. Hickman has begun analyzing school data to support GHS as it makes decisions about implementing SEL, future goals, and setting the agenda for professional development.
Glassboro Intermediate School
Glassboro Intermediate School voted to become a Rowan University PDS last school year. Rowan University and GIS are moving ahead with selecting a PIR for the school. GIS looks forward to developing shared goals with the PIR and the rest of the PDS Steering Committee. Principal LaVonyia Mitchell notes that the committee looks to focus one of those goals on math.