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Teach Plus Responds to the Professional Development Needs of New Mexico Teachers with Timely Trainings

July 29, 2020

Albuquerque, NM ― As New Mexico’s teachers work to engage and teach their students during distance learning now and into the next academic year, they need the right training to ensure they can use online programs effectively. In a Teach Plus New Mexico survey of 600 educators from across the state, a majority of teachers pointed to technology access and training as a barrier to distance learning. Using survey results, Teach Plus then identified topics and experts to help lead virtual professional development sessions and partnered with teacher leaders across the state to support teachers in their professional development needs with online programs and strategies for teaching in a virtual learning environment.  
In June, Teach Plus Network Teacher Leader Beth Smith, 5th grade teacher at Military Heights in Roswell, trained more than 70 teachers on the use of Google Classroom. “With education being catapulted into the technology age, Teach Plus is offering training on the hottest topics like Google Classroom and SeeSaw to New Mexico educators, bringing information we need, when we need it,” said Beth.
July virtual sessions included training on the “SeeSaw from an Educator’s Lense” by Teach Plus alumna Darlene Fortier, who teaches a full inclusion 1st grade class at Salazar Elementary School in Santa Fe. Darlene demonstrated how the online program can be used to support some of the state’s youngest learners.
Most recently, teachers learned “Strategies to Engage Students Virtually” with Rio Rancho Network Teacher Leader Ashely Niman with 60 teachers from across the state attending virtually. Ashley shared 10 strategies that she used with her 4th grade class last spring to help keep students engaged and learning daily.
“COVID-19 has quickly and drastically changed the way education is delivered to our students. Each day we advocate for teacher voice and teacher leadership. These virtual training sessions are an example of both and more importantly, will support student learning,” stated Executive Director Hope Morales.
In the survey, more than half of New Mexico’s educators indicated the need for additional training in four areas: strategies for engaging students virtually; providing an equitable learning experience; supporting students with special needs; and ensuring their classrooms are safe upon return to school buildings. These topics are a priority among educators when it comes to their teaching and learning and the safety of their students. Survey respondents indicated they wanted to “make lessons engaging and meaningful in an online environment” with more than 60 percent of respondents indicating they needed training on “strategies for engaging students virtually.” 
 
Teachers can apply to the Teach Plus Network and register for trainings at https://teachplus.org/new-mexico-teacher-network
 
About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students. teachplus.org