Vestavia Hills City Schools took a fresh approach to its October in-service day for teachers and staff.
Instead of following a traditional plan of each school scheduling a day of professional development, all eight schools joined together to collaboratively plan a day of rich learning and collaboration across the district.
Six weeks prior to the event, the district held a vXchange15 planning day for select counselors, media specialists, ELL and teachers of fine arts, exceptional education, and all content and grade levels to gather together to design the learning conference. These representatives surveyed and consulted with their colleagues to determine a focus for the day or for their sessions. They created agendas and secured session teacher leaders or consultants to facilitate the learning.
vXchange15, hosted at four locations in the district, provided varied and differentiated learning experiences for participants. The focus of vXChange15 was engagement, collaboration and innovation, so there were live webinars, teacher-led roundtables, Google Classroom Bootcamps, and lots of D.I.Y. sessions on topics of interest. Approximately 100 sessions, designed by the teachers, were offered for the employees. There was something for every content and grade level.
Ty Arendall, principal at Liberty Park Elementary Schools, said, “Our greatest resource in Vestavia Hills is the talent and expertise of our incredible teachers. One of the most important things we can do for our students is to give teachers from across the district a time and a forum for sharing their expertise with each other. We always learn so much from each other.”
vXchange15 answered that need and desire for that kind of professional learning.