The Professional Learning section provides an overview of how the Yonkers Public School District has tackled the diverse challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to provide continuous instruction to its nearly 27,000 students and to provide consistent professional development to faculty, administrators, and staff in order to shift to full remote learning and hybrid instruction effectively. This rapid shift to the adoption and use of interactive, high quality instructional technology programs and platforms has transformed the school district, opening new pathways to teaching and learning.
Within this section is a digital library containing samples of the more than 100 district-facilitated training sessions over the past year. The purpose of the digital library is to highlight the diverse opportunities and to provide a place where the faculty of the Yonkers Public Schools and other regional schools can continue to learn on demand. Each training opportunity has been well received, as evidenced by the large numbers of faculty, administrators and staff attendance. The professional learning has ranged from the basics of using Microsoft Teams (Teams 100) to using the immersive reader and translation components of various programs and applications. The learning opportunities have continued to advance to incorporate best practices for remote and hybrid instruction.
Featured in the professional library are trainings facilitated by our learning partners, including Microsoft Education, Nearpod, National Geographic, Mystery Science, Computer Adventures, and Castle Learning. Each of the sessions has been tailored for our learning community. These instructional technology program providers have facilitated professional development that has been differentiated and has reached hundreds of educators.
The data presented in this section tells an important story, one that exemplifies innovation, ingenuity, and forward thinking. The presentations illustrate the number of professional development sessions offered since April 2020, the diversity of topics and skills, and the attendance of stakeholder groups. Also featured in the Board of Education reports is information showing the growth and shifts that have occurred with the consistent implementation of interactive instructional technology programs.
Professional Learning Goals
- Train all faculty, administrators, and staff on the primary instructional platform, Microsoft Education.
- Train all faculty, administrators, and staff on secondary instructional platforms.
- Provide regular professional development that is targeted and differentiated with the goal of increased proficiency in using digital programs and in providing effective instruction in a full remote and hybrid environment.
- Create a culture where the expectation for growth and deep knowledge is the norm.
- Develop leadership capacity among teachers and administrators to become providers of training for others in their school buildings and to teach their students how to use the platforms.
- Provide consistency in the use of district-adopted, high-quality platforms and programs across the district.
- Increase communication between teachers and students in a remote learning environment.
- Increase student engagement, learning, and achievement.
The Yonkers Public Schools primary instructional technology platforms are:
- Microsoft Education (K-12)
- Nearpod (K-12)
- Seesaw (Prekindergarten and Kindergarten)
- Clever is the instructional technology management system.
Secondary instructional technology platforms and programs include:
- The Benchmark Reading program
- The Social Studies curriculum and digital textbooks and resources
- PNW BOCES elementary and middle school integrated Social Studies and English Language Arts curriculum
- National Geographic American Stories for middle school U.S. history classes and America through the Lens for high school U.S. history classes
- HMH World History digital textbook and resources for Global History I & II
- Mystery Science elementary science program
Supplementary instructional technology programs include:
- Discovery Education (all content areas)
- BrainPOP (science, math and social studies)
- Castle Learning (elementary through high school assessment program)
- Sumdog (math fluency)
- Khan Academy (mathematics)
- PhET (science simulations)
- CK-12 (science content)