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Edison Elementary School has been utilizing the services of Jandella Faulkner who works as a teaching coach for Long Beach, California, school district. A group of teachers including Jennifer Larsen, the teacher of third graders has been trained by Faulkner at Edison Elementary School. The training is about a new literacy curriculum known as ‘Write from the Beginning’ which trains teachers on how they can improve their classroom practices.
Many American schools trust outside professionals to conduct professional development training; New York City’s school district alone has spent almost $100 million on it last year. According to a report by the U.S Department of Education above $1 billion is spent on teachers’ training every year in the U.S. Pamela Grossman, a professor of Graduate School of Education of Stanford University, claims that although a lot of money has been spent on professional development, not many evidences can be found of improvement brought by the outside professionals.
On the other hand, the third largest district of California, Long Beach Unified School District has personal training teams that have been successfully running the country’s best professional developmental program for new and old teachers. Jill Baker, district assistant superintendent for Elementary and K-8 and also the chief academic officer, believes that this system helps to turn teachers into trainers and leaders without the help of outside forces.
“Write from the Beginning” curriculum and teachers training is highly appreciated by the team of Long Beach due to great improvement seen in the test scores of many schools. The scores of writing test results have shot up from below 20% to above 50% since the year 2007. During professional development programs, teachers use different techniques such as ‘thinking maps’ to help students improve their writing skills. In general, these programs are quite effective for children as they help them to learn faster and retain information for a longer period.