Coordinator Staff Development
The classified staff component is designed to orient new staff to the district, provide job training, leadership development and to provide staff development opportunities for personal and professional growth.
The Classified Staff Career Development Training Program is completing its ninth year. The programs intent is to further identify and develop potential classified leadership candidates from the current employee pool. All classified staff divisions/department heads and Assistant Superintendents select three to four individuals from their division to attend yearlong training sessions. Individuals are selected who have the potential of maintaining high standards of excellence demonstrated over their time of employment. This diverse group of “cross division” employees are provided interactive training in managing conflict, communication and listening skills, teamwork, customer service, valuing the differences in others and other job specific skills.
F.O.C.U.S. (Fostering Organizational Commitment, Understanding and Support)
The F.O.C.U.S. management development model is a multidimensional training base for management skills for classified staff. Selected individuals are currently in leadership and middle management positions. F.O.C.U.S. participants selected have completed the (Classified Leadership Development Training) Classified Leadership Phase I program, or are other selected staff. The participants represent multiple departments and divisions of the District.
The program is focused on the development of groups within the organization, and on individual development as required to improve the functioning of the group. The intent of the program is to provide training and self-development in the areas of management and supervision. District staff and professional consultants are involved in the planning and presentation of identified management skills. Topics include teamwork, communication skills, building collaborative relationships, diversity, customer orientation, facilitation skills, budget/fiscal management, etc. The program will help establish sound management principles and strategies for classified and potential managers and supervisors.
The New Classified Staff attend a one time session intended to provide a consistent, overall orientation for staff new to the Omaha Public Schools. Newly hired employees are scheduled to attend this orientation session within three weeks of their employment. The session topics include an overview from Compensation and Benefits, Blood-borne Pathogen Pathogen training, review of the Drug and Alcohol Policy, Drug Free Workplace Policy, Harassment Policy, and Electronic Technology User Policy. During the session, the Classified Employee Handbook is reviewed. Employees completing the orientation session sign a form indicating they have received the information presented.
Nutrition Services candidates attend a pre-employment orientation addressing job responsibilities and work rules of the division. This session includes a review of the employee handbook and a food handling sanitation class conducted by the Douglas County Health Department. Upon completion of the class, candidates take a test for Douglas County Food Handlers certification. On-going Kitchen Assistant training is provided to staff new to this division. Other classes are provided for individuals seeking advancement in the department. These courses include training for dish machine operation, cashier, cook, and management training classes.
Federal and state laws mandate much of the training in this division. At the present time, all drivers and aides attend an initial orientation session and complete eight hours of First Aid and CPR training. Drivers attend a ten-hour defensive driving course and must obtain a Nebraska School Bus Driver’s Permit that is renewed annually. Because of the passenger capacity of the District’s small buses, Federal law requires that the bus drivers have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). This is in addition to the Nebraska School Bus Driver’s Permit. Drivers and aides must successfully complete a thorough physical examination and drug/alcohol screening.
The annual fall orientation for all drivers and aides included updates on attendance policy issues, a discussion of Benefits and Compensation, and a question and answer session on topics of interest to employees.
A yearly event for office personnel is the office personnel conference. This is jointly sponsored by Human Resources and the Office Personnel Advisory Committee (OPAC) and coordinated through the Office of Staff Development. All office personnel are traditionally invited to attend a half-day of professional development and training.
Office personnel have the opportunity to attend customer service training sessions throughout the school year. These sessions pertain to their specific job role and support professional growth.
Operations and Maintenance staff are provided training on the job. Head engineers and the housekeeping supervisors provide support for training the custodial staff. The Annual Custodial School is offered in the spring of each year.
Paraprofessionals may choose one of the three options to meet the certification requirements set forth by the federal law (NCLB) and NDE Rule 11: Early Childhood Requirements.
The ParaPro Assessment is a formal assessment of the knowledge and ability to assist in the instruction of reading, writing and mathematics. An online assessment is available at the Teacher Administrative Center (TAC).
In conjunction with Metropolitan Community College, college courses are offered to meet NCLB and Rule 11. A paraprofessional may participate in the equivalent of 48 semester credit hours or equivalent of 6 semester credits (Rule 11) focused on general education and early childhood education courses.
Transcripts will be reviewed on an individual basis. If a paraprofessional feels that he/she has met the requirements based on the three options to be considered “highly qualified” as defined in the NCLB legislation or Rule 11, he/she must submit an official transcript to Human Resources.
This annual professional development conference is designed to assist paraprofessionals with their roles of meeting the needs of our diverse student population. The topics covered were relevant and aligned to the roles and responsibilities of paraprofessionals. A one day conference for paraprofessionals focused on topics such as:
• Paraprofessional-Teacher relationships
• Understanding the culturally/linguistically diverse student
• Strengthening the performance of Paraprofessionals working in inclusive classrooms
• Managing small group instruction
The Office of Staff Development offers several programs to support schools. Individual schools plan and schedule professional development focused on their specific goals. Staff Development will assist with planning and customizing professional development to support the school goals. Some of the site-based offerings that have been provided to assist schools/departments this year are:
• Culturally Relevant Teaching
• Professional Learning Communities
• Small Learning Communities
• Inquiry Based Instruction
• Differentiated Instruction
• Classroom Assessments
• Magnet School Professional Development
• Block Scheduling
• Academy School Professional Development
• Multiple Intelligences
• Understanding the Culture of Poverty
• Writing Across the Content Areas
In addition, Staff Development provides an extensive library of resources for staff check- out based on the newest and latest research aligned with district initiatives and content standards.