The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Initiatives: School of Education Bridging Professional Development Gaps

UNCG School of Education student Carrie Burch assists students in the computer lab while in teacher residency at Wiley Middle School in Winston-Salem, NC.
 
By Sherry Meeks 
 
Professional development is vital to the success of a school. But most school districts struggle to provide quality professional development for a variety of reasons, including the scarcity of funding, the challenge of aligning preparation with classroom practice and the lack of access to professional development opportunities.

With the need for professional development so great, the School of Education is striving to meet those challenges with a variety of innovative initiatives. These efforts include:

  • A regional approach to core curriculum standards;
  • A series of modules that will expand counselor certification opportunities worldwide.


Common Core Standards

In addition to increasing opportunities for classroom-level training, the School of Education is leveraging technology to improve professional development. One example of this is an online professional development program for the Common Core State Standards in partnership with the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium.

School of Education Dean Karen Wixson has been deeply involved in Common Core Standards development in recent years. Such standards define clear, consistent benchmarks for students all across the country.

The School of Education is developing five modules for online teacher training based on the English Language Arts Common Core Standards. Each participant will enroll in the first overview module and then a second module, based on grade level interest.

These modules are interactive, sequenced, and scaffolded (information builds as participants progress in the module). Greater access is available through these modules because they are taken independently, leading to more flexibility for teachers.  

Teachers in the region benefit by learning how to teach and assess Common Core Standards and UNCG student-teachers benefit from their classroom teachers’ knowledge of these same standards.


Clinical Supervision Certification

For many aspiring school counselors, access to certification training development is the most difficult roadblock to entering the profession. This is particularly true for students living in remote areas.

With that in mind, the School of Education’s Counselor Education Department and the Greensboro-based National Board for Certified Counselors are developing a series of training modules that will certify counselors in clinical supervision.

“This collaboration has the potential to help people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to this information,” says Dr. Scott Young, Chair of the Counselor Education Department. These modules are the first of their kind and allow counselors to train and receive certification from anywhere in the world.

Young believes many regions of the world need this type of training, including nations in Europe and Latin America. UNCG is proud to be among the first universities to offer this training.

Dr. L. DiAnne Borders, Burlington Industries Excellence Professor at UNCG, and one of the top scholars in the world on clinical supervision, wrote the book that is being used for the modules.

The School of Education is committed to providing quality professional development opportunities to ensure continued success of educators by initiating new certification modules and strengthening core curriculum standards.

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