NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Staff development for Nacogdoches Independent School District began Wednesday. The annual meetings usually focus on the latest and newest teaching methods and resources.
For the 2020-21 school year, the break-out gatherings focused primarily on operational changes brought on by COVID-19.
Even for faculty, staff development can create first-day jitters; more so during a pandemic.
Many routine aspects of education will be “radically different,” said the district’s communication director Les Linebarger.
Instead of hearing from education experts to fill the hours of staff development, teachers focused on the logistics of keeping everyone safe.
"What happens in the classroom, what's going to happen in our hallway, our arrival-dismissal procedures," listed Mike Moses Middle School principal Stephen Autrey.
Nacogdoches High School principal Dr. Rom Crespo has some new rules in place for teenagers.
From the 9th grade lunchroom he points out some changes. “What we’re doing here is we’re putting specific markers where students can sit. It says, please sit right here. We’re making sure the classrooms are set up in a way we are practicing social distancing by separating student desks.”
And one directional hallways, with no bathroom breaks during class change, will be tried out.
Teachers must also learn how to format and deliver online lessons and incorporate them with eventual face-to-face instruction.
Art Lieberman, a teacher for Mike Moses Middle School has been working on the task for over two weeks.
“How do I make this work for someone sitting at home? I find that fascinating and interesting, so really that’s where my mind has been,” said Lieberman.
Other thoughts are on staying safe.
“The part that I worry about the most is you go home and you have your family,” said Autrey. “But my family is here at school too,” adding his concern for teachers and students.
It all weighs on the minds of educators who must learn how to teach, for now, a different way.
In Nacogdoches school starts August 31, a week later to give teachers extra time to develop online instruction. Virtual learning will be tried the first month of school. At the high school level a rotation between in-person and virtual will be introduced.