Earlier this week, Washington School District administrators participated in a two-day spring training session.

The administrative retreat for building principals, supervisors and district administrators was held Monday and Tuesday. A follow-up session will be held in August before school opens.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said a variety of topics were covered including the professional development calendar for all staff so principals can plan their calendars and begin planning initiatives for next year.

Melissa Ziegler, instructional coordinator, and Melanie Trentmann, high school math teacher, also facilitated a session on balanced math. Balanced math includes instructional practices designed to meet the needs of all learners in the are of math.

VanLeer said teacher training will occur next year and principals will be supporting teachers during implementation.

Additionally, Ziegler and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann worked with principals on the topic of Common Core State Standards.

Each principal received a binder with the documents for math, English language arts, literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects in regard to the new state standards that are being phased in.

“Principals participated in exercises to help them better understand text complexity and fluency as it pertains to increasing rigor in these academic areas,” VanLeer said.

Also, administrators began planning the collaborative activities and expectations for the district’s new early out schedule next year on Wednesday afternoons.

“All certified staff will be working diligently to implement the common core state standards,” Vanleer said. “We also utilize student achievement data to inform instruction and determine academic interventions for students.”

The superintendent said teachers will learn from one another by talking about instructional practices, strategies and assessments.

“We are focused on the continuous improvement of student learning and our collaborative team time provides us with the time and resources we need to collaborate in grade level teams, subject/content area teams, and interdisciplinary teams,” she said.

On day two of the training session, administrators learned about their roles and responsibilities as leaders when serving as a member of an IEP (individualized education plan) team. They also learned about eligibility, re-evaluation and assessments related to special services.

VanLeer previewed the new focus group that will be launched in the fall — Focus Group 3, Improving Student Achievement in the Technological Age.

The superintendent shared ideas for pilot programs and informed principals as to how the new focus group will function. The group will have specific working subcommittees with very specific roles and responsibilities.

“We must think about 21st century classrooms and what they look like,” VanLeer said. “We must talk about how we plan to meet the needs of our kids as they work through school and embark upon a very complex, highly technical, global society.