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Grant helps St. Lawrence Central provide professional development


BRASHER FALLS - A grant of more than $130,000 will help the St. Lawrence Central School District provide professional development for its staff.

They were one of 32 applicants who received qualifying scores required for the funding under the Strengthening Teacher and Leadership Effectiveness program, but do not yet have approved Annual Professional Performance Review plans.

All grant-eligible applicants must have an approved APPR plan by Jan. 17, 2013 to receive funding.

STLE grants are targeted to support school districts and charter schools using, as part of their implementation of an APPR plan, a comprehensive approach to recruitment, development, support, retention and equitable distribution of effective teachers and school leaders.

In St. Lawrence Central’s case, Superintendent Stephen M. Putman said they’ll receive $135,875 once they have an APPR plan approved by the state Education Department.

“It’s primarily for professional development over the next two years,” he said.

Public school districts and public charter schools with at least 25 percent of students who are from low-income families were eligible for the STLE grants, which were coordinated between school districts and local principal and teacher unions.

“In looking at a list of schools around New York that got this grant, Ogdensburg and us are basically the only two schools I saw north of the Thruway,” Mr. Putman said.

He said he worked with Lisa Grenville, high school principal and director of special services, on the grant.

“The week after school got out, that’s about all Lisa Grenville and I did was work on the grant,” he said.

Now that they have the funding, they’ll be able to use it for professional development over the next two years, according to Mr. Putman.

“We had a week-long professional development camp this summer. This will fund one for each of the next two summers. It goes for the rest of this year and through June 30 of the following year,” he said.

Plans for STLE funding must focus on various elements of a strategically planned Teacher and Leader Effectiveness System, including preparation, recruitment and placement, induction and mentoring, evaluation, ongoing professional development/professional growth, performance management and career ladders.

In their grant application, Mr. Putman and Ms. Grenville said they would focus on seven areas during those professional development sessions.

“We focused on different categories we could identify of strength or areas of gaps,” he said.

Among them, he said, was the preparation of new teachers.

“We put that as an area of strength because SUNY Potsdam and St. Lawrence are so close by,” he said.

They also included recruitment and placement of teachers because of the proximity of SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Plattsburgh and St. Lawrence University.

“Some of this (funding) will go toward training for mentors and mentees,” Mr. Putman said.

Some of the funding will also be used to purchase video cameras and tripods for each of the district’s three buildings so teachers can tape themselves as part of the mentoring process.

“You pick up on things you didn’t otherwise realize,” he said.

Mr. Putman said they’re looking forward to receiving and being able to use the grant funding.

“We’re very pleased that we were successful. We have a few little things to work out with the teachers in terms of making sure things we put in here are in agreement with their contract. We may just tweak a couple of little things,” he said.

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