What Waterford has to Offer

What Waterford Has to Offer Key Notes:

  • Class Size
  • Technology
  • Professional Development/Tuition Reimbursement
  • New Teacher Orientation
  • Beginning Teacher Support
  • Preparation/Planning Time
  • School Year and School Day
  • Community Support/Budget
  • Waterford Community (Video)

 

Class Size
The Waterford Board of Education has maintained small class sizes as a deliberate policy to improve student achievement in the early grades. Class sizes in Grades K-3 average 17 students per classroom. Grades 4 and 5 average approximately 20 students per classroom. Middle school academic classrooms average 22 students per class and high school academic classes average 19 students per classroom.
Elementary classrooms which exceed the desired number are often split into additional classes or a paraprofessional is hired to assist the teacher. Class size reduction has been undertaken as a local initiative and is not dependent on a federal grant to continue.
 

Technology

  • Each teacher is issued a laptop computer for enhancing instruction and for personal productivity. Attendance and grades are entered electronically through the school's network rather than on paper.
  • All classrooms have computers for student use and a printer.
  • All classrooms have a Promethean interactive whiteboard.
  • Each school has a V-Brick System that streams cable TV and educational videos on demand. 
  • All classrooms and offices are linked to one another via a wide area network with some of the fastest bandwidth of any school district.
  • A large districtwide software budget ensures that each classroom has the latest software.
  • Systemwide email.
  • System and school-based websites.
  • There are Techonology Coordinators at each level to assist teachers in integrating technology into the curriculum. Multiple computer labs are available at the middle school and high school.

 

Professional Development/Tuition Reimbursement
Professional development for teachers in Waterford is a priority. It is offered in a number of ways:
  • The district holds workshops during the school day, after school and during the summer for teachers. One parameter in the district's Strategic Plan is that "we will always provide staff training for every change we implement". For new teachers, two three-day workshops are held during the first year of employment in Waterford. The first is entitled " Effective Teaching " and the second is entitled "Cooperative Learning". These workshops provide a common vocabulary, frame of reference and teaching tools for all teachers.
  • The district provides teachers, upon approval of the principal, funding to attend workshops and conferences outside of the school district.
  • In-house trainers in the fields of Language Arts, Mathematics and Technology provide one-on-one, small group and large group instruction within the district on an ongoing basis. These consultants are available to help new teachers become familiar with the curricular and instructional expectations in Waterford and to encourage professional growth for all teachers.
  • A tuition reimbursement for graduate-level courses is offered through the WFCT contract A sum of $60,000 is budgeted each year and dispersed to teachers on a pro-rated basis depending on the number of courses taken during a given year. Reimbursement rates in the past five years have ranged from 50 to 100 percent. This reimbursement is in addition to the increased salary provided to teachers as certain benchmarks are reached in graduate school.

 

New Teacher Orientation
A one-day new teacher orientation is held during the week prior to the start of school. Check out a sample agenda.
 
 

New Teacher Orientation

8:30 a.m.

Waterford High School Media Center

  • Welcome – Introductions
  • Professional Development
  • Teacher Evaluation
  • Curriculum Cycle
  • Calling Substitute Teachers
  • Personal Days
  • Graduate Study Reimbursement Form
  • Travel Request Form/Reimbursement Form
Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) Program
All teachers holding an Initial Educator or Temporary 90-day certificate are required to participate in the TEAM program. This program lasts for two years, during which time the teacher must attend workshops and develop a portfolio to be submitted to the State during the second year. Each teacher is assigned a mentor within the district to help with meeting the TEAM requirements.
 
 
Preparation and Planning Time
Preparation and planning time varies by level. Elementary teachers receive time during each day, when the children go to art, music, physical education (twice weekly) and library. Sometimes, due to scheduling, an elementary teacher may receive two planning periods one day and none the next. Additional planning time may also occur at other times during the day. Every effort is also made to give grade level teachers in a school common planning time during the week so that coordination time is available.

The middle and high school schedules are on an eight-period cycle. Middle school and high school teachers teach five of the eight periods. At the middle school, one period is used for FLEX period (a focused, small group), one period is used for a common team plan, and the other is a personal plan.

At the high school, two periods are used for personal planning and one is assigned as a duty (study hall, lunchroom, hallway).
 
School Year and School Day
Waterford's school year is up to 181 student days and 186 teacher work days. One teacher workday is the day immediately preceding the start of school in the fall, one is on Veterans' Day for parent/teacher conferences, and the other three are scheduled as professional development days. School generally begins the week prior to Labor Day and ends in mid to late June, depending on the number of snow days. There is a week's vacation time in December and April.

The school day for students is approximately six hours and forty-five minutes and the official workday for teachers is seven hours. School hours are as follows:

Elementary: 8:25 am to 3:10 pm
Middle School: 7:50 am to 2:35 pm
High School: 7:25 am to 2:10 pm
By contract, teachers may be required to stay up to two hours per week after the regularly scheduled work day to participate in faculty meetings, department meetings and other professional activities.

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