Wednesday Professional Development


    Families who are new to the Dobbs Ferry Schools and first-time Springhurst parents often ask about the District’s “shortened” Wednesday school day, the reasoning behind it and what happens on that particular day? Hopefully, this document will provide a little better understanding of the history and rationale for the Wednesday early dismissal schedule.

    In fact, the District and teachers contractually negotiated Wednesday as a “Professional Development” (PD) day almost a decade ago, starting in September of the 2013-2014 school year. At that time, it was instituted in order to allow teachers to continue the important curriculum work needed to realign teaching and learning to the Common Core Learning Standards, a huge undertaking. It was decided that students would be dismissed one hour earlier every Wednesday throughout the school year. In addition to the necessary curriculum work, teachers would also use this time to meet in grade level teams, professional learning communities and to pursue other professional development opportunities.

    While the truncated Wednesday has always been a challenge for parents, especially at Springhurst, Wednesday time is essential in supporting the innovative and well-developed instructional program that we have in Dobbs Ferry. While teacher-student contact time is also a priority, the quality of that contact time is directly related to the amount of time and attention given to regular, ongoing teacher professional development.

    It is also unrealistic and impractical to think that all teacher professional development can take place in the summertime when we are unable to "require" teachers to attend. In addition, we would not be able to gather together (even virtually) the necessary groups of teachers at the same time over the summer months. We would also have to pay teachers to come in during their vacation, which further limits our professional development options. 

    Here are examples of what teachers are doing on PD Wednesdays: 

    • Grade level planning with grade-level teachers, Special Education providers, and other support specialists (K-12)
    • Envision Math training
    • Illustrative Math training
    • Writing Revolution training
    • Wilson Reading training
    • Critical Thinking Through Technology
    • K-2 and 3-5 Behavior Management Training
    • CRSE Framework Training (K-12)
    • CenterLane LGBTQ+ Teacher Training (K-12)
    • Safety and Security Training
    • Strategic Plan Review
    • MYP Required Training and Prep for 5 Year Review
    • RTI Tier 1 and Tier 2 Intervention Trainings (K-12)
    • Suicide Prevention and Awareness
    • HS and MS Department Meetings
    • MS MYP Report Card Standards-Based Report Card Redesign
    • Various Counselor Trainings (K-12) 
    • Math Lesson Study with Josh Rosen 
    • HS IB Roundtables
    • HS Cross Content Curriculum Planning

    This is just a sampling of the kinds of learning and activities that teachers are engaged with on Wednesdays. We have one hour each week for PD, and also early release before lunch (3 times/year) where we have teachers from 12:00 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. for extended PD time. There are also lots of short technology training sessions that teachers participate in, and they have one hour each month for personal professional time where they can work on an individual project or work with other colleagues on a mutual area of interest. 

    Our teachers actually engage with lots of additional PD on their own time, both after school hours and in the summer. Teaching is an extremely complex undertaking and requires ongoing, job-embedded professional learning while the school year is in progress. When looking at education globally, teacher training is just as much a part of the teacher’s job as is direct contact with pupils, because the value of that time is so intertwined with high-quality professional learning/training.

    This one hour per week is not about cutting educational time for students. It reflects and supports the District’s ongoing commitment to continually improve the quality of instruction in our classrooms.

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