More than 700 K-12 educators from eight school districts including Hudson Falls, Hartford, Argyle, Granville, Salem, Fort Ann, Cambridge and Fort Edward participated in the daylong event. Educators collaborated, discussed shared areas of interest, and addressed common problems found in the classroom.
The morning session featured 30 workshops taught by the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) and Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES (WSWHE BOCES). The workshops provided attendees with information on current education practices ranging from differentiated instruction to understanding common core data to using technology in the classroom. The afternoon session was designed for specific grade level departments to discuss current practices and challenges at each grade level. The afternoon session was facilitated by teacher leaders participating in the Strengthening Teacher Leader Effectiveness (STLE) Grant.
“The idea behind this conference was to provide teachers and administrators from these eight districts with the opportunity to learn about new trends from across the educational spectrum, as well as the opportunity for grade level teachers to meet with their colleagues for the purpose of collaboration and discussion over common areas of interest,” said CASDA faculty member, Dr. Jerry Steele. “Out of this, we hope to create an opportunity where teachers and administrators will be able to reach out later for purposes of professional development or to share common interests or problems to which they are seeking solutions.”
The Washington County School District Collaborative grew out of a 2012 study facilitated by CASDA, an education and research non-profit at the University of Albany’s School of Education, that looked at ways to leverage collaboration and sharing among the districts. The following year, an advisory committee was formed between the districts, which have been working together since that time to strengthen teacher leadership, share services, and bring distance learning to each district. WSWHE BOCES is an important partner to the collaborative by providing essential resources such as distance learning and a chief information officer.
“The best thing about the collaborative is the idea that the districts are constantly looking for additional ways to share and improve efficiency, while at the same time providing quality academic programs for their students,” said Dr. Steele.