The Owensboro Public Schools DRIVE group held a professional development Thursday for all district certified employees that catered to each of their individual needs.

DRIVE stands for Developing Relationships and Inspiring Visionary Educators and it's an effort to foster better communication between schools in the district. It consists of teachers and administrators who wish to inspire and empower one another, and represents each grade level, each core content area and each school within the district.

The professional development was personalized, with each staff member having the opportunity to choose which sessions they attended, said OPS district literacy coach Amy Bellamy.

There were 40 presenters for each of the 109 sessions, which ranged from yoga to teacher retirement.

"Teachers were able to select what worked best for them," Bellamy said. "We have training today on everything from new technology resources, team building in your classroom, literacy strategies, sessions just for math teachers, you name it."

One of the big things she heard from teachers about professional development -- which is required -- was that they wanted PD that applies specifically to them. So when it came to calling educators to a classroom, especially in the middle of summer, the DRIVE group and district officials wanted to make it worth their while.

Tami Wahler, an Estes Elementary School teacher, said the personalized learning for teachers was helpful because teachers could choose sessions that most applied to their circumstance. For example, she chose guided reading, sessions on writing and the session that talked all about teacher retirement.

"There is something for every grade level, from pre-k to 12th grade," she said.

The professional development was good, she said, because it was for teachers by teachers.

"It's our peers from other schools who have stood out in their field or particular interests," she said.

Logan Johnson, an Owensboro High School special education teacher, said having the choice of sessions also benefited him.

"It just allows me to specialize my professional development," he said. "It's been great so far. The transitions are relatively short, and you are not just stuck in one place for an hour in a half listening to one person speak."

He also said it's a great opportunity to meet and network with others who teach within the district.

Matthew Constant, OPS chief academic officer, said it's important for teachers to receive personalized learning, as well.

"If we are doing this for our kids, then we should be doing this for our teachers," he said.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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