PCS educators leading the way

Published 12:59 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2017

PELHAM – Four Pelham City Schools teachers are following their passions outside of the classroom by leading the way in curriculum development and the professional development of other educators.

Pelham High School teacher Deidra Crain and PCS curriculum and instruction coordinator Shannon Bogert traveled to Montgomery in December 2016 to make a presentation at the ACT State Convention.

Two eighth grade math teachers at Riverchase Middle School, Stacy Moseley and Cate Dixon, are in the process of creating an eighth grade math curriculum for Laying the Foundation Program, which is a nationwide initiative that aims to strengthen knowledge and teaching practices for third through 12th grade math, science and English teachers.

Crain and Bogert’s ACT convention presentation, titled “Making the Invisible Visible,” focused on teaching other teachers about instructional strategies that are appropriate and suitable for all students, but are especially helpful for struggling learners, such English language learners and exceptional education students.

“Speaking in front of your peers is more intimidating than teaching in front of students, but being able to network and connect with educators around the state was invaluable,” Crain said.

Crain, who teaches 10th grade English, broadcast and journalism, said she was very humbled by the feedback she and Bogert received after their presentation.

“Our goal was to make it immediately meaningful and practical for them so they could implement the practices in their classrooms,” Crain said. “People even asked if we would be interested in doing presentations at their schools this summer. My personal passion is teaching other teachers and helping them discover more effective ways to teach.”

Over at Riverchase, Moseley and Dixon are busy developing an eighth grade math curriculum that will one day be used by teachers throughout the state.

“I’m excited because this is exactly what we’ve been struggling with this year and it’s exactly what we needed,” Moseley said. “Every time I’m teaching something I always think about if there’s a better way to do it or there has to be a better way to do this.”

Moseley and Dixon, and teacher Kent Haines from Hoover City Schools, are working together to explore various teaching techniques for eighth grade math and are mapping out a curriculum that breaks down each nine weeks. Resources for teachers are built into the curriculum.

“This will include everything that an eighth grade student needs to learn, but teachers can still adapt and tailor it to fit their teaching style,” Moseley said.

Moseley said the curriculum is expected to be completed by summer 2017. Moseley, Dixon and Haines will be the first teachers to implement the curriculum in their classrooms. After they try it out and troubleshoot any kinks, they will host three 4-day training seminars during the summer to teach other teachers how to successfully implement the curriculum.

Crain and Moseley said they’re grateful for the opportunities to work outside of the classroom, helping other educators.