Professional Development Days


Nicole Poitras

The Unified Arts group working together

Every student looks forward to Professional Development Days, more commonly known as Teacher Workshop, where they get the day off. On these days, teachers meet at the school at 7:00 A.M. and work in meetings to discuss curriculum and other school-related matters. But what do teachers actually do on these workshop days?

On the most recent professional development day, Tuesday March 8, each department worked on revising their curriculum. Department Head Rodney Clark said of the Science Department’s work, “We’re taking the old curriculum and using that as a tool to revise from, and we’re writing this new curriculum by looking at the old curriculum, but also looking at what’s called the Next Generation Science Standards, as well as what’s called the New Hampshire State Frameworks in Science.”

The Math Department also worked on incorporating new aspects into their curriculum, similar to Science. With the new SAT being offered to juniors for the first time this month, the math teachers of HBHS are changing what and how they teach in order to benefit students most before they take the infamous test.

Rewriting the curriculum is not the only objective of these days off. Clark continued, “The days can take on a whole bunch of different things, like this particular one we’re sort of assigned a task to be working on. But often times administration at the SAU or at the building level will use those days to have an area of focus where they want to bring the whole staff up to speed on a particular topic. For instance, they might have an expert come in to address how we use technology in the classroom.”

Oftentimes, each of the core departments will either work as a whole or split up into groups to assess problems and devise solutions, but what the faculty work on during PD days is designated by the administration. Some days, presenters come into the school and speak to the entire staff in the auditorium, but most frequently they’re split by department.

Within their department, math teachers may work on individual or particular problems to better the way that they prepare students for their futures. “We want to make sure students’ needs are met,” said Stacey Plummer, Chair of the Math Department.

While they also discuss curriculum and other matters, the Visual and Performing Arts Department has a bit of a different approach to PD days than everyone else. This department allows each teacher to give a presentation of how they teach to the rest of the department. Matthew Barbosa, choir director, improv teacher, and theatre director at HB, may teach his co-workers improv, or Lina Pepper, visual arts teacher, may show them ceramics.

“The point, aside from it being kind of fun… [is] all of us understanding the department better,” said Dave Umstead, Head of the Department.

With these presentations, other teachers of the department can note what they do well and what they need to improve on in the future. By doing this, the teachers can enhance their teaching styles to best benefit their students.

Regardless of what the objective of the day is, while the kids relax on these days off, the teachers of HB work as hard as ever to make their students’ educational experience as rewarding as possible.

“If we’re doing it right, the work that teachers are doing now…hopefully will enable us to provide a better outcome for the students,” Clark said.