McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 9, 2013

Teacher of the year to be announced, MPS Professional Day

Submitted report

McALESTER — On Feb.18, the McAlester Public Schools Professional Day will be a day including both celebration and professional collaboration and learning for its educators.

The day will begin with naming the district’s Teacher of the Year for 2013. 

“We are really proud of all the teachers in our district who were willing to engage in the process of personal reflection and inquiry required for the Teacher of the Year process” said Stephanie Holt, Coordinator of Secondary Curriculum. “Our selection process was established by the district Professional Development Committee and is modeled after that used for the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.” 

Hold said finalists commit to submitting a portfolio to the Teacher of the Year program at the state level if they are selected.  “But the primary goal of our local recognition is to celebrate the ideals of our profession as exemplified by one of our own and to facilitate the professional growth of each educator by asking them to reflect on their daily practice and their personal educational philosophies,” she said. “These nominees all serve as models for excellence in our profession.  We commend them all and use this day to celebrate their accomplishments.”

Following a reception to honor the newly appointed Teacher of the Year, McAlester’s teachers will spend the remainder of the day engaged in professional learning and collaboration, said Holt.

“We will have sessions highlighting emerging technologies and tools for success like our new Google calendar which we are using as an informational tool,” commented Debbie Watkins, Director of Public Relations.  “We (MPS) are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to communicate with our students, parents and community.” 

She said the calendar displays the activities of every one of our schools and athletics, in which our parents and community members might have an interest.

“Our District Google Calendar can be viewed by going to our MPS website, and simply clicking on the direct link to the calendar,” she said.

Watkins said later in the day, teachers will be meeting in smaller grade level and subject specific learning communities to analyze student data and plan instruction as we continue to move toward the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. 

According to Dr. Marsha Gore, Superintendent of Schools,  “It is critical that our teachers have time embedded in their work day to analyze the needs of our students and to continually hone their practices as educators.  Change is a constant in our profession and we are always looking ahead at how to improve the quality of education for the students in this district.  The ultimate goal of all of our professional development activities is learning how to better meet the needs of our students.”

The teachers have been nominating by their peers as finalists for the 2012-2013 MPS Teacher of the Year.

Nominees are Yvonne Alford, Kelly Byrd, Cindy Clark, William Higgins, Sheila Ketchum and Amy Powers.