What Happens on “Staff Development Day”?


After-school coordinators discussed equity at Jefferson Elementary School. Photos: Charles Burress

Ever wonder what the teachers and other District staff do on Staff Development Days?

For school families, it means students don’t go to school. But what do staff do? They go to school!

In classrooms, school libraries and meeting rooms across the District, the seats where students usually sit are filled with teachers, principals, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, librarians and the many other BUSD employees serving our students and families — all learning how they can improve the educational and school experience for the students.

The huge variety of presentations and trainings at our most recent Staff Professional Development Day, on Oct. 10, made for a full and interesting day of learning. At 10:15 a.m. at King Middle School, for example, about three dozen teachers were gathered at tables in the staff room refining their understanding and use of “Constructing Meaning,” an approach to language learning that provides teachers with the process and tools for weaving explicit language instruction into content area teaching.


Tim Wise spoke to maintenance workers and custodians about race

At the same time in the school library, District middle school teachers explored “Gender Spectrum” issues, while in the school auditorium, maintenance and custodians attended a presentation on “Race Relations in the Workplace” by Tim Wise, a noted author and speaker on racism. District nutrition staff learned about preventing the spread of blood-borne pathogens at the King Dining Commons, while teachers in two King classrooms honed their skills in Google Classroom and other technology tools.

Several classrooms of teachers at Berkeley High delved into culturally responsive teaching and ideas for redesigning the school curriculum, family engagement staff and school safety officers participated in a crisis prevention and intervention training, and at Jefferson Elementary, digital literacy was part of the school librarians’ agenda, while after-school coordinators tackled equity.


Technology training for teachers at King Middle School.

A variety of staff, record technicians, instructional assistants gathered in the District Board Room for sessions on “The Art of Education: Everyone Counts” and other topics.

School Administrative Assistants (formerly known as School Secretaries) and other office staff collaborated on learning electronic requisition routing techniques and other digital tools to enhance operational efficiency, while bus drivers engaged in effective passenger management practices.

An unofficial count showed more than 100 different sessions throughout the day.

Asked her reaction to the activities she experienced, new Berkeley High math teacher Jasmin Mumford said, “There’s a lot of stuff packed in, but it was very well organized, prepared and professional. It was very informative and educational for me.”


Classified staff had multiple-screen access to the “Art of Education” presentation by Erika Emery in the District Board Room.

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