Professional Development Newsletter


What is this newsletter about?

Each month, we will be sharing tips, strategies, information, and ideas for your classroom. If you are in need of resources, materials, etc., let one of the instructional coaches or Ms. Greiner know and we will help in any way!

Meet Your Curriculum Director:

Stephanie Greiner

Years at Houston: This is my first year!

Years Taught: 3 years university setting; 4 years K-12

Where You Have Taught: Western Illinois University, Elon University, St. Louis University, Dekalb and Walton Counties, Georgia, Parkway School District, St.Louis County, Jefferson City School District, Plato R-V School District

Something I am looking forward to in my position this year: Building relationships with teachers and staff members to better enhance the learning environment!

Meet Your Instructional Coaches:

Upcoming Curriculum Work Days:

Big picture


9th-HS Math Day 2

10th-MS ELA Day 3

15th-MS Math Day 2

16th-HS ELA Day 2

23rd-HS Social Studies Day 2

24th-MS Science Day 2

29th-Elementary(3-5) Science Day 1

30th-HS Science Day 2

31st-MS Social Studies Day 1


7th-Elementary(PK-2) ELA Day 2

8th-Elementary (3-5) ELA Day 2

13th-HS Math Day 3

14th-MS Math Day 3

20th-HS ELA Day 3

21st-MS Social Studies Day 2

What is PD at Houston?

When you hear the words “Professional Development,” do you think of the plans you have to submit? Do you think of the days we don’t have students, but have meetings? Some of us have a feeling of obligation and dread, some of us are curious to learn new things. However you feel about PD, think about the words PROFESSIONAL and DEVELOPMENT. While it isn’t a secret teachers are not always well paid, highly respected professionals, we ARE professionals. We have devoted years to learning the pedagogy of the times, strategies that are relevant to kids at the time and the latest technology to implement. However, these things change over the years. Here’s where the “development” part of PD comes in. Teachers who have taught for many years, and can share stories from the trenches of way back, have seen the changes in education and the changes of our society, family and students. They can attest to the changes that the teacher with less than 5 years have heard about. Whatever teacher you are, we all have to develop as we go. When I started 13 years ago, Love and Logic and Cooperative Learning were the end-all, be-all to education. I listened to Harry Wong talk about classroom procedures as if a classroom change up could cause your students to melt into liquid. Now, I look at Love and Logic and scratch my head at the fact they preached that teachers should respond to students as a “broken record” if there were classroom issues. Today, I know that that isn’t going to build a relationship with a student-just frustration. You see, that is development. We sat in a PD meeting this month about developing assessment capable learners. We were presented with the data and even a few ideas about how to do it. The very next day, my classes discussed what the standard is that we are learning from, what the plan was for the day and they helped state their own “I can” statements. Bam. I just PD’d all over the place. I’m a creature of habit. But, I’m also a professional and know that we have to recognize that society, families and kids change and we must meet them where they are. My students will benefit from the time I sat through a PD day in September, 2019. Chances are in September, 2020, I will need to sit through another one to enhance what I’m already implementing.

We have extraordinary PD in the Houston School District. Many schools focus only on bringing in speakers and trainers to conduct sessions and meetings. Our district allows teachers to use the funds set aside for PD for specific conferences that YOU think you would benefit from. Another benefit our district offers are our instructional coaches. They are here for all teachers. If you have a challenging class that can’t seem to hit the target on a standard, call a coach. Our instructional coaches are armed with strategies that are ready to use for any classroom, any subject. From fifth grade to fine arts to FACS, they can offer professional development right here from our own district. We can’t forget to take advantage of the vetern teacher’s wisdom and experience and the new teacher’s energy and innovation.

For some of us, our students are sitting in a classroom on a rug for the first time in their lives. Some are fidgeting middle schoolers with their minds on anything other than what you are teaching and some of us are getting ready to launch our students into the world. Whatever stage you teach them in their lives, we are all sending them off with knowledge of academics as well as a memory of the experiences they had in your class. Whether the student ends up in Germany, New York, Texas or here in Texas County they will carry and reflect on what YOU, their teacher did with the standards you were required to teach. So, even though we sometimes don’t see the immediate value in PD, if you can soak it in and implement what you are learning, it may be part of your legacy.

By: Wytney Steelman

Learning Strategy: Sage and Scribe

sage and scribe

Dividing Your Classroom into Thirds

One of the easiest ways to differentiate is dividing the students in your classroom into thirds. Each third is working on something specific.

For example,

  • 1/3 is on iReady (or working on something educational on the chromebooks)
  • 1/3 is working on an activity-this can be individual or in pairs
  • 1/3 is working with the teacher on skills needed to be successful in the classroom

By doing this, you can choose to rotate through each group, either in a single day (usually for elementary) or in the course of 3 days (usually MS or HS). As the teacher, you are able to see the benefits of working with a smaller group of students on something you know will create success in the student's academic career.

This strategy can also be broken into fourths, with the fourth group working on another strategy or independent reading. If you would like help differentiating in your classroom, contact one of the instructional coaches! We are here to help!!

By: Maygen Ward

Contact Information:

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:9