Warren County schools work on improving instruction

FRONT ROYAL — During a retreat of the Warren County School Board on Wednesday, district officials discussed efforts to improve instruction.

Shortly into the retreat,  board members heard from a representative of Bloomboard, a company that the board agreed to pay to provide services to some teachers in the district. The education technology company provides lessons to teachers to help improve their teaching.

Lisa Rudacille, director of elementary instruction for the district, said that the district would not use the company for its first-year teachers, who would receive help directly from staff members. Instead, the program will target improving second- and third-year teachers.

“It’ll be all face-to-face with our first-year teachers,” Rudacille said.

Meanwhile, in a long presentation about the Virginia Tiered System of Supports, Rudacille and other staff members said that the district is working on using data to improve the district’s schools.

Over the past year, the district has focused heavily on improving attendance by having teachers greet students at the door and by being proactive and calling parents when their students were not attending school.

Alan Fox, the director of secondary education for the district, said that the district has used other data measures in order to improve teacher instruction.

For instance, the district has used student surveys in order to determine approximately how often teachers are talking in class and how often students are talking. That data has helped inform the district that teachers are spending too much time speaking in class.

“We can’t sit there that long without being part of the discussion,” Fox said.

But Fox added that the district still has a way to go in terms of incorporating data into its teaching, saying that not enough teachers are using data to inform their teaching practices.