Starting the semester on the right foot

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 6, 2010

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – Before the students returned from the holidays on Tuesday, educators throughout St. John Parish participated in a day of professional development.

As it was not an official workday, those who attended the professional development sessions were paid a stipend for their participation.

At their individual schools, the parish’s teachers took part in workshops mostly focusing on communication strategies. Many centered on strategies to improve student literacy while some learned crisis prevention strategies.

Even St. John’s bus drivers got in on the act, with over 75 of them attending a workshop aimed at improving customer service.

One of the highlights in a day filled with them was the visit by Todd Whitaker, a published author and speaker from Indiana State University. At the central office in Reserve, Whitaker addressed the parish’s assistant principals along with a handful of other administrators. He spoke about strategies of effective leaders and gave them advice on how to handle difficult students, parents and employees.

Earlier in the day, Whitaker spoke to the faculty at Garyville/ Mt. Airy Magnet School. The faculty at that school began their professional development a day early with a workshop in Baton Rouge.

Said Superintendent Courtney Millet, “Today has been a very good day for us. I saw smiling faces in our teachers’ professional development sessions that focused on mindful teaching. Teachers are not only ready for their students but ‘raring to go.’ … it’s going to be a great semester for our students.”