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CES completes professional development despite COVID

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The end of the school year looked different this year for Clanton Elementary teachers as they finished classes through virtual means or received completed paper assignments from students.

However, despite the COVID-19 pandemic several teachers have been able to continue with professional development.

CES reading specialist Monique Harton organized and received approval for a book study for teachers.

Harton had read “A Fresh Look at Phonics” by Wiley Blevins four years ago as a part of a book study for all of the reading specialists in Chilton County. She thought it would be a good book for other teachers.

“University of Montevallo is our in-service center, so I contacted them and asked them if they could purchase books for every teacher, and they did,” Harton said.

The books were purchased last year, but Harton did not find a good time to do the study.

“When this pandemic came about, and when school got out early,” Harton said. “I thought now would be a perfect time for a book study.”

Participating teachers read a chapter of the book and fill out questions every two weeks. Answers to the questions are submitted through Google Classrooms. Harton also provided activities to accompany the seven chapters of the book.

Teachers also had the opportunity to hear from the author during a Zoom video call meeting. Harton said she had been inspired to contact the author after she heard about someone else successfully connecting with the author of a book they had done a study on.

Harton said she contacted the author through his website and was “impressed” when he made time for the group.

Incorporating phonics and review as well as blending lines were some of the topics from the book Harton felt would be especially helpful.

“One quote that he stated in his book that I love is, ‘if the students are doing, then they are learning,’ and I think that applies to everyone, not only students, but adults as well — when we are doing things, we are learning,” Harton said.

She said Wiley gave the group of 15 teachers and administrators good insight and information during the video meeting.

“At the end of the book study, those who have completed all assignments and read all of their assigned chapters will get two credit hours of professional development,” Harton said.

She explained that teachers are required to accrue 50 professional development credit hours in five years to successfully renew their teaching license.

“For those teachers that have not read the book, it would be a great asset to their teaching resource collection,” Harton said.