Board approves professional development

By Nancy Gutierrez

At the July 21 Exeter Union High School District board meeting members approved the EUHSD professional development program as well as the addition of seven minimum days to the instructional calendar for the 2004-2005 school year.

The additional days will be used to conduct professional development workshops or meetings. The board had postponed deciding on the issue due to controversy over the disruption of added minimum days. Some board members felt the added days would be an inconvenience to parents and students.

"What we wanted was to hear all the options," Mike White said. "We don't want to question something like this especially in these times when there is such a spotlight on students being proficient."

EUHS principal Don Brinkman said the school had to develop a program that will help raise test scores and academic standards.

"It will be very challenging but we have to stay the course and make the changes we have to make," Brinkman said.

The main goal of the program was to improve services and strengthen support systems to increase the number of students scoring proficient or advanced in language arts and math.

The professional development days will involve writing workshops, math training, developing reading and writing strategies in elective classes and reviewing benchmark testing data along with many other activities.

"The staff is aware that we are on a new road," Brinkman said.

White said that though he still believed the added minimum days were a disruption, the benefits of staff development outweighed the negative impact.

"I trust that you'll pull the benefits out," he said. "You have to be prepared to do what it takes … to those teachers who don't step up."

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