by Brett H. Spielberg
The Freeport school district was awarded a Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) grant to provide support for taking part in a comprehensive approach to recruitment, retention, development and support, all part of a statewide effort by the Board of Regents to strengthen educator effectiveness.
Dr. Kang will observe classes, make her evaluations and then bring that information back to her colleagues at Adelphi. Depending on the specialization of the material or the age level, the appropriate faculty member will consult to provide the support necessary.
“It’s unique professional development,” Dr. Kang said. “Working together creates a special partnership tailored for each teacher.”
Public school districts and public charter schools are eligible for STLE grants when their districts are composed of at least 25 percent of students from low-income families.
Freeport is the only district from Nassau County approved for an STLE grant at this time, which is for $786,591 and runs from October 31, 2012–June 30, 2014.
“It’s not a one-shot deal,” Dr. Kang said. “It’s about building close relationships with the superintendent, school leaders and teachers over time.”
There will be targeting professional development based upon identified needs, mentoring programs, support for teachers becoming dually certified in special education or ESL and workshops for elementary teachers conducted by professors from Adelphi.
On top of these professional development and mentoring programs for teachers, there is a strong focus on improving literacy, supporting high-need students and especially advancing student learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The grant money will also support the purchase of curriculum development technology, including SMART boards, iPods and sound enhancement tools for special education and self-contained classrooms.
“All the schools also plan to rent at least one week of the Bio-Bus,” Dr. Kang said of the mobile science lab. “It’s a great way for students to have additional field trips.”
Hicksville, Long Beach, Wyandanch and Island Trees school districts all have grants pending approval of their Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans.