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Teachers work together in academy

July 18, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

This is Bethanne Radomski's fourth year as a Washington County Public Schools teacher, and the fourth summer she has taken advantage of professional development workshops.

Radomski teaches biology, anatomy and physiology at Boonsboro High School, and for the past week, she has been one of 17 people at the Maryland Governor's Academy for biology being held at South Hagerstown High School. Similar workshops were being held throughout the state, including an algebra course at Williamsport High School.

The academy, funded through the Maryland Department of Education, focuses on helping teachers ensure that all students pass the High School Assessment in biology. Teachers will work to deepen their knowledge of biology, strengthen instructional skills and examine ways to increase achievement of students, said Aline Novak, a Clear Spring High School biology and chemistry teacher. Teachers are able to work in collaborative groups during most of the academy, she said.

"It's for our students," Radomski said. "The more professional development we can take part in, the better we are at our job."

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After the first week of the academy, she said she already has learned some new ideas and concepts she was anxious to apply in her classroom.

"The end goal is enhance student achievement," Radomski said.

Radomski and Connie Burley, were two of the three Washington County teachers at the biology academy.

Burley, a biology teacher at Boonsboro High School, said she has heard good things about the academy, and was anxious to enroll.

Burley said information she learned at the academy about end-of-course tests that students will be required to pass as part of federal No Child Left Behind Act is particularly important.

"We're learning how to help students learn these concepts that will be on the test," Burley said.

Burley said she also was talking with other teachers at the academy about new ideas for her classes and more inquiry-based labs.

"We always want to serve our students better," she said.

Washington County Public Schools also is offering many professional development opportunities for its teachers over the summer. There are 59 scheduled workshops on content, interventions, instruction, classroom management and team processes, according to a report recently given to the county's Board of Education. Twenty-one courses on content knowledge and quality teaching, the classroom learning environment, technology, Spanish for educators and grant writing also will be offered.

The second week of the Governor's Academy is being held today through July 20.

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