Professional Development

The staff in the Fort McMurray Catholic Schools family are life long learners. They are keen to continually build their knowledge base and share their learnings within their school families.

This past Friday our teaching staff and educational assistants spent the day in professional learning. Our Teachers were joined by scholar Santiago Rincon-Gallardo as they focused on their learning practices.

Fort McMurray Catholic Schools Superintendent George McGuigan says we always need to work on improvement, “In order to truly develop our youth’s full potential we need to always be learners ourselves. Keeping up to date with the latest research is critical. Professional development days and our Professional Learning Fridays are the vehicles to bring us together, build relationships, collaborate and develop high quality instruction for and with students. Extensive research studies indicate the single biggest factor that influences student learning is collective teacher efficacy.”

Our educational assistants had the opportunity to work together with a focus on working with children who have challenging behaviours and anxiety. Fort McMurray Catholic Schools Deputy Superintendent Monica Mankowski says it’s about making sure our staff are prepared, “The goal is to give our staff more tools for their toolbox. They will naturally share these tools with family and friends. This will in turn increase the capacity within our own families and community.”

Mankowski adds there are additional benefits to having staff from all schools working together, “Part of this day is to give staff this time to connect with each other and collaborate. When staff can build connections within the Division it is a positive. Fort McMurray Catholic Schools has a wellness plan. Staff are working on wellness as teams. They are sharing information on our new benefits plan, new services, financial planning, as well as in classroom strategies.”

Superintendent McGuigan says at the core, it’s about working together and developing the team, “This creates a shared belief in the capacity of the group to achieve great results. With classroom time what we know that works well for student learning- therefore we push forward with 80% relentless consistency. The other 20% is risk taking, trying out new methodologies. Whatever we do has to be designed to improve student learning. This has always been, and always will be the goal.”