Standard 1.9. STEM teachers and leaders participate in a continuous program of STEM-specific professional learning.

At FSAPS professional development takes many forms and is a requirement of all faculty and administrators with the goal of improving student results and continuous overall school improvement.

While our teachers regularly attend outside professional opportunities, what makes our professional development program stronger is actually what we do during our daily professional learning activities. Faculty members are provided a thirty-five to forty minute professional collaboration period daily. This time is dedicated to working with peers to explore new instructional approaches, identify academic opportunities, discuss vertical subject alignment, develop cross-curricular projects, and/or review practices, procedures, and policies.  This dedicated collaboration period also increases communication between grade levels and fosters a cohesive faculty and positive learning community that dedicates itself to constant improvement. Weekly and bi-weekly faculty meetings, as well as, instructional coaching also take place throughout the school year and are another vehicle for professional development and instructional advancement.

Elementary grades meet every afternoon between 3:40 pm and 4:20 pm, middle and high school team meets every morning between 7:30 am and 8:05 am.  A brief summary of professional learning calendar is as follows:

Elementary Weekly Professional Development Schedule

Monday – STEAM PD/Technology Integration/Best Practices. *STEAM PD bi-weekly*

Tuesday – Math Collaboration Teams

Wednesday – Cross Curriculum & STEM Units

Thursday – Atlas Rubicon / Lesson Plan / Collaboration / Homework Distribution

Friday – Grade Level Meetings

Middle and  High Weekly Professional Development Schedule

Monday  – Technology Integration / Best Practices

Tuesday – Instructional Strategies

Wednesday – STEM Unit Planning and Collaboration

Thursday – Atlas Rubicon / Lesson Plan / Collaboration

Friday – Department Meetings

Some of our training during daily planning includes padlet, scaffolding, google classroom, STEAM enrichment, seesaw and so on. 

FSAPS also provides for on-site gifted certifications for all faculty and administrators on a recurring two year cycle.  Since we serve advanced and gifted students, this endorsement is especially important as it provides our teachers with insight and instructional strategies unique to gifted students. Also, our administrators may participate in leadership certifications, such as iLEAD, once their gifted endorsements have been received. Additionally, administrators and department chairs may receive partial or full tuition reimbursement for their master’s or doctoral degrees within policy guidelines. 

Further, all of our teachers have personal professional growth plans. These plans include two personal professional goals and are updated at the beginning, middle, and end of school year.  The vast majority of these plans include at least one STEM related goal.

GISA, NAIS, NCTM, and GA STEM conferences are attended annually in order to stay informed of the latest educational research and academic practices, as well as, to view new tools and curriculums that have become available.  As other areas of need or school improvement initiatives are identified, staff may attend professional conferences centered on that focus area, such as the National Technology Conference. Additionally, Department Chairs may attend state or national conferences and trainings in subject areas under their oversight.

Professional development is extended into the summer months. Faculty members may attend academic trainings, professional programs, and conferences. Annually, faculty members attend Science Olympiad Summer Institute, PLTW Trainings, Renzulli Confratute, Georgia Tech STEAM Leadership Conference, and the GSCA Conference. There is also a seven day pre-planning period each year, consisting of a new staff orientation, review of policies, procedures, and practices, as well as, updated training on assessment system, safety measures, and data analysis. Webinars or in-person training is provided for all new products, curriculums, and software during this time as well.

Some of our more recent STEM related professional development activities include the following:

  • Our leadership team attended 2017 Georgia Tech STEAM Leadership Conference.
  • Two teachers attended K-12 Inventure Challenge Teacher Workshop at Georgia Tech on June 8, 2017.
  • About 12 of our faculty members attended the six week 2017 Georgia Tech Project Based Learning Summer Training.
  • Two  of our middle school teachers attended 2017 National Technology Conference in Orlando.
  • Annually, our Science Olympiad head coaches attend the National Science Olympiad Head Coaches Meeting for three days in Arizona in July.
  • Our STEAM Enrichment Coordinator, Dr. Erkan attended the 2017 Confratute Conference in Connecticut for five days to learn more about enrichment programs.
  • We hosted Eurekus STEAM training for a full day of professional development training on STEAM education for our faculty during pre-planning.
  • Principal Sener attended the 2017 National Gifted Conference in Orlando.
  • Our curriculum coordinator, Mrs. Ivarie, attended the 2017 Georgia STEM Conference in Athens and our assistant principal, Mr. Turan attended the 2017 Metro RESA STEM Conference in Marietta.
  • Several of our faculty members attend STEM related sessions at the Georgia Private School Conference every year.
  • Two of our teachers are attending the National Science Conference in 2018 March.
  • Some of our teachers attended the 2018 Arts integration and STEAM online conference.
  • Several elementary teachers attended the Project WILD certification program.
  • AP teachers attended AP trainings in the STEM fields of Math, Science, and Technology during the summer.
  • Mr. Kaya, our robotics teacher and coach attended the PLTW training this summer.
  • Our school offers gifted endorsement classes to all of our teachers through Metro RESA. This program is tailored for the specific needs of our teachers by a METRO RESA teacher that comes and conducts this training at our school every other Wednesday during the school year. 
  • Our school also pays for leadership trainings, masters degree, and doctorate programs of our administrative team positions. 
  • We have hosted a training for Atlas Rubicon at our school to assist our teachers with collaborative STEM unit planning. 
  • Our school gives a $100 gift card to each teacher that receives their Google Level 1 Certification. Our Technology Coordinator, Mr. Kaya, helps teachers with the training  of google classroom on different professional learning days. To date, 6 teachers have completed their Google Level 1 certification this year. 

Our professional development aligns with the FSAPS culture and philosophy of constant improvement and is central to enhancing our students’ instructional experience and increasing academic results.