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Grant helps St. Lawrence Central provide professional development


BRASHER FALLS — A grant of more than $130,000 will help the St. Lawrence Central School District provide professional development for its staff.

The district is one of 32 that received a commitment under the Strengthening Teacher and Leadership Effectiveness program, but do not yet have approved annual professional performance review plans.

All grant-eligible applicants must have an approved plan by Jan. 17 to receive funding.

The grants are targeted to support school districts and charter schools using, as part of their implementation of a review plan, a comprehensive approach to recruitment, development, support, retention and equitable distribution of effective teachers and school leaders.

In St. Lawrence Central’s case, Superintendent Stephen M. Putman said, it will receive $135,875 once it has a plan approved by the state Education Department.

“It’s primarily for professional development over the next two years,” he said.

Districts must have at least 25 percent of students from low-income families to be eligible for the grants, which were coordinated among school districts and local principal and teacher unions.

“In looking at a list of schools around New York that got this grant, Ogdensburg and us are basically the only two schools I saw north of the Thruway,” Mr. Putman said.

He said he worked with Lisa L. Grenville, high school principal and director of special services, on the grant.

When the district receives funding, it will be able to use it for professional development over the next two years, according to Mr. Putman.

“We had a weeklong professional development camp this summer. This will fund one for each of the next two summers. It goes for the rest of this year and through June 30 of the following year,” he said.

Plans for funding must focus on various elements of a strategically planned teacher and leader effectiveness system.

In the district’s grant application, Mr. Putman and Ms. Grenville wrote that they would focus on seven areas during professional development sessions.

“We focused on different categories we could identify of strength or areas of gaps,” he said.

Among them, he said, was the preparation of new teachers.

“We put that as an area of strength because SUNY Potsdam and St. Lawrence are so close by,” Mr. Putnam said.

They also included recruitment and placement of teachers because of the proximity of SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Plattsburgh and St. Lawrence University.

“Some of this (funding) will go toward training for mentors and mentees,” Mr. Putman said.

Some of the funding also will be used to purchase video cameras and tripods for each of the district’s three buildings so teachers can record themselves as part of the mentoring process.

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