Role reversal sees teachers hitting the books

Educators from across regionparticipate in development day

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On Monday, the tables were turned on about 250 teachers from Northwest Colorado -- they were the ones being taught.

The Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educa-tional Services' third annual staff development conference was held Monday. It was attended by teachers from the various BOCES school districts, which include the Steamboat Springs, South Routt, Hayden, Moffat County, North Park and East and West Grand districts.

Teaching teachers is one of the most important things schools can do, as research has shown that teachers are the most critical element in student achievement, said Jane Toothaker, executive director of the Northwest Colorado BOCES.

To support teachers and help them stay up-to-date on the best teaching practices, BOCES provides dozens of workshops and conferences throughout the year.

"We do put a high priority on our teachers being well-trained," Toothaker said. "We want them to stay current with the latest and greatest teacher training."

On Monday, many high school teachers attended the "High School: Raising the Bar" part of the conference at Steamboat Springs High School, and other K-12 teachers attended satellite conferences held throughout the region.

The focus on education at the high school level falls in line with national attention on high school education.

High school teachers chose from a variety of sessions covering topics such as how to make senior year count for students facing senior slump, how to assess what students have learned, and how to create successful and challenging experiences for English Language Learners in schools.

One of the most popular seminars, Toothaker said, gave teachers strategies for motivating and inspiring students.

Speakers included local principals and experts as well as experts from across the state.

The conference has been in the works since last December, Toothaker said. To start, teachers are surveyed on the type of training they want. Then, Toothaker works with the BOCES standards committee, which includes a representative from each school district, to plan for workshops.

"We're trying to build teachers' capacities to improve student achievement to help (teachers) with their learning, to help them with their skills," Toothaker said, adding that it's up to the teachers and their school districts to bring those skills back to the classroom and school.

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