Professional Development: Student Support

South Middle School (SMS) held professional development on November 14. How did our work impact your child’s learning?

If you have 2 minutes…read this:

SMS staff members:

  • reviewed survey data from parents/guardians from parent teacher conferences survey and created a plan to continue communication with families
  • increased shared knowledge of teaching all types of students through an article titled 8 Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do by Ferlazzo
  • focused on improving students’ current mindsets, including ways to get your child to believe they can grow in their learning and thinking

If you have 5 minutes…read this:

The shared knowledge portion of professional development was focused on continued parent communication and positive student mindsets. Staff learning included the following information listed below:

Continued Parent Communication:

  • Teachers reviewed the results from the parent survey regarding conferences and reflected on changes and improvements for the future.
  • Teachers created plans to continue parent communication throughout the year.  Brainstormed ideas included:
    • Positive phone calls
    • Positive post cards sent home
    • Emails regarding questions/concerns/positives
    • Updating blogs regularly and adding the subscribe feature

Shared Knowledge:

  • Staff members modeled a reading strategy of using visuals to tie meaning to reading through reading an article titled 8 Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do by Ferlazzo.  Staff members reflected and discussed the readings in think-tank groups (2-3 members per group).
  • This reading strategy may be seen in your child’s classroom(s).  Seeing a visual helps the reader solidify meaning to the new learning and ideas.

Student Mindsets:

  • Staff members reviewed the information about growth vs. fixed mindsets and related that information to students’ views of themselves.  Which of our students have a fixed mindset?  Which of our students have the growth mindset?
  • Teachers reflected on how to inform students that they can in fact continually grow their brains!


For more information about South Middle School  professional development please click here.

For more information on the article used during the shared learning portion please click here.


560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701