• Teachers and School Administrators

    Professional Development

    Professional Learning for Instructional Staff The following professional development offerings will be provided to administrators and instructional personnel to help address and meet the most immediate/urgent challenges and needs in terms of teaching and learning during these unprecedented times. Virtual professional learning sessions and virtual learning communities/meetings will be used in order to provide educators collaborative opportunities that safely support professional growth and communication.

    Build Teacher Capacity for Distance Learning and Teaching

    Teaching in a distance learning environment requires specialized skills including how to conduct classes virtually, how to deliver content, how to engage students, how to design opportunities for students to demonstrate learning, how to design equitable instruction, how to provide feedback to students, how to maintain effective communication with students’ families, and how to use digital resources and technology to make it all work. HCS has developed an online professional learning series on effective distance/learning pedagogy. During identified district professional development days in August, all teachers will complete the modules in collaboration with their peers and school-based leadership teams. School-based leadership teams will receive specific training in July and/or August on how to facilitate the completion, discussions, and use of these online modules within their buildings. District office specialists will provide ongoing support in relation to these modules through school-based and district-wide professional learning communities.

    Build Administrator Capacity for Leading

    Administrators will receive ongoing professional learning related to the pedagogy and strategies for distance learning to promote student learning and success. Such training is necessary in order for administrators to assist, observe, and provide feedback to educators teaching in a flexible hybrid instructional model. Build Instructional Staff Capacity Around Physical and Mental health It is critical for instructional staff to be educated on the district’s protocols for a variety of physical health, mental health, and safety issues related to COVID-19. These issues include:

    • Symptoms of COVID-19
    • Prevention techniques including universal precautions
    • New district procedures to prevent and minimize exposure
    • Signs of mental health stress in oneself and co-workers, with follow-up protocols
    • Signs of mental health stress in students, with follow-up protocols
    • Social and Emotional Learning: Strategies and promising practices to provide social and emotional support for students
    • Cultural Sensitivity/Awareness

    All guidance counselors will complete the online course entitled Trauma-Informed Resilient Schools. This course teaches school professionals how to create trauma-informed schools and classrooms. The training focuses on resilience, exploring the core values and beliefs of educators, and places an emphasis on understanding how trauma impacts children and their school experience. Proactive strategies such as fostering connections, prioritizing social and emotional skills, and establishing safety are presented. This course provides detailed information and concrete actions that answer not just the “why” but also the “how” to create the best classroom and school supports for traumatized students and the school professionals who serve them.

    Using the information presented in this course, guidance counselors will provide ongoing school-based training sessions for the staff members within their assigned schools. HCS will promote and fund district-level and school-based participation in the 2020 Trauma and Resilience Virtual Conference scheduled for July 20-22, 2020.

    Onboarding and Support for New Staff 

    New instructional personnel will be offered the opportunity to attend New Teacher Academy in August. This academy is a virtual four-day event designed specifically for new educators and educators new to HCS. Educators will participate in a variety of virtual professional development sessions focused on such topics as Google Apps for Educators, accessing curriculum documents and digital resources, building relationships with students in face to face and virtual environments, setting up a classroom, etc. District specialists and lead teachers will facilitate sessions, including a teacher panel discussion focused on best practices for distance learning. New instructional personnel will also be afforded the opportunity to participate in two days of targeted support at their base schools with administrators and instructional coaches.

    In addition to New Teacher Academy, new educators will participate in all available professional development sessions for distance learning at the district and school levels, while also being assigned a mentor teacher.

    Build Staff Capacity with Instructional Standards

    Professional development and support for the implementation of instructional standards/priorities and revised/updated curriculum maps will be customized for educators based on their grade level assignments and/or specific content areas such as special education, English as a Second Language, career and technical education, physical education, fine arts, foreign languages, etc. Professional learning communities within and across schools will be utilized in an ongoing manner for the exchange of resources, best practices, as well as discussing challenges and needs. Instructional staff will participate in collaborative professional learning opportunities to unpack learning progressions and review professional learning resources released by the State Department of Education. These ongoing sessions will be facilitated by district content specialists, school-based instructional coaches, and lead teachers. Build Teacher Capacity to Provide Supports to All Students Professional development sessions will be offered that focus on how to provide instructional support through tiered intervention, how to provide emotional and social support for all students, and how to implement the tenets of culturally relevant teaching.

    Instructional staff will participate in collaborative professional learning opportunities with regard to Act 213, which requires all districts and charter schools to report data on the implementation of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and universal screening procedures for students in kindergarten through second grade. 

    Build Capacity for Instructional Coaching

    Mentors and instructional coaches will be provided ongoing professional learning on appropriate pedagogy, strategies, and technical aspects of mentoring/coaching in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Instructional coaches will also receive ongoing training on how to coach for equity and personalization.


    HCS Educator Preparation Guidelines and Procedures

    HCS will continue to provide students with access to field-based, clinical experiences during this time of transition. For a candidate to be approved for a practicum or an internship within a school in Horry County, the university must complete a required request form based on the type of clinical experience needed. These forms, as well as instructions for submitting forms for review, can be found at the following link.

    Flexibility in Approval to Complete Clinical Experiences

    HCS recognizes that the ETS Praxis series of assessments is a significant component of educator licensure. For this reason, HCS has an established requirement that a candidate requesting to complete a culminating clinical or student teaching experience must have successfully completed all required Praxis II examination(s) or state required exams for licensure.

    Due to the closure of many Praxis test centers and the financial burden test fees may currently place upon some candidates, HCS will offer flexibility with this testing requirement during the fall semester of 2020 and possibly during the spring semester of 2021 based on circumstances.

    The Praxis testing vendor is working to develop an at-home testing option for certain Praxis tests and will waive fees for test rescheduling, if necessary. Additional information and updates are available on the ETS Praxis testing website. HCS encourages all universities and clinical experience candidates to regularly monitor this information.

    Requirements and Modifications to Clinical Experiences and Evaluations

    Clinical students completing field experiences within school buildings in Horry County must adhere to all district established health and safety guidelines/procedures, including having the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on at all required times and in all required locations within the building(s). All visits to an assigned school campus must be scheduled and documented following the established school procedures.

    With an increased need for distance learning options for students in Horry County, candidates seeking clinical experiences may be required to participate in varied online or virtual learning opportunities and collaborations in lieu of field experience hours in a typical school setting. As a result, evaluations conducted by university supervisors may need to be conducted virtually based on individual circumstances and the specific requirements of the university. Structures for supervisors to observe student teachers in a virtual learning environment may include joining live instructional sessions, reviewing recorded instructional sessions, and reviewing student work samples, student assignments, and created rubrics. All of these structures must be planned for and scheduled with guidance and assistance from the assigned cooperating teacher.