The Professional Education Services works collaboratively with partner schools and VSU faculty to offer professional development workshops each semester. This page contains past workshop recordings and offers some professional development resources for educators. 

Spring 2023 Workshops

Navigating the Job Search

Presenter: Lindsay Bowley, Cherokee County Schools
Description: Topics will include how to stand out in your placement, what to do to network for a job, interview preparation strategies, do’s and don’ts of interviewing, and what principals are looking for in candidates.


ChatGPT: Embracing Disruptive Innovation in the Classroom

Presenters: Karen Terry, Debbie Paine, and Ambie Watson, and select Middle and Secondary Education students, Valdosta State University
Description: Discover the latest powerful disruptive innovation in AI, ChatGPT,  that is taking the discussion of teaching and learning in classrooms by storm. Open AI, the creators of ChatGPT, declares the tool as a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response. While there is sweeping acceptance that these technologies are in an infancy stage, opinions of their acceptable uses are widely divided. Learn how a current teacher education course is utilizing the tool and making observations based on hands-on, real-world experiences. Join the discussion about the implications for its use for teachers and students in P12. 


Best Practices for ESOL Students in the Academic Classroom

Presenters: Jenay Lewis, Georgina Arnold, Barbara Christian, Tracey Fiveash, Valdosta City Schools
Description: We will briefly review some changes that have been made in the ESOL world, but focus more on practices that academic teachers and other ESOL teachers can use in the classroom. 


Fall 2022 Workshops

Career Preparation Essentials

Presenters: Alexus Garrett & Lynette Hepburn-Richardson, Valdosta State University

Description: This presentation will focus on how to prepare for your next job opportunity and touch on resume development, interviewing, and professional dress.


Integrating the Arts in Math and Science

Presenters: Kristy Litster, Gayle Ramirez, & Forrest Parker, Valdosta State University

Description: This presentation will discuss and present ideas to integrate visual art, music, and drama in math and science. Although the examples and ideas provided in the presentation will be focused on K-5 math and science, many can be adapted for grades 6-12 and different content fields. Examples include but are not limited to:

Art: Magnetic Pollock; Stained Glass Geometry
Music: Designing Simple Instruments using Math and Science
Drama: Dramatizing Story Problems; Eureka! Science Discovery Skits


Mentoring Teaching Candidates with Effective Feedback 

Presenters: Mary Beth Sebring, Lowndes County Schools & Gayle Ramirez, Valdosta State University
Description: This session will explore the CAPS/Intern Keys evaluation form and discover how it relates to Georgia’s Teacher Keys Effectiveness System. Additionally, the session will provide attendees with scenarios and conversation starters to empower mentors to provide effective feedback to teacher candidates and engage in difficult conversations when teacher effectiveness is a concern.


"Keeping the PACE" Summer 2022 Workshop Sessions

Session 1: 3-D Learners: Differences, Diversity, and Divergent

Presenters: Karen Terry, Barbie Radcliffe, and Debbie Paine, Valdosta State University
Description: This session will challenge attendees to consider all learners in the classroom in a new way. What makes a learner different? How can we address the needs of the students in an equitable manner? How can we explore the three "D's" - different, diverse, and divergent to personalize the teaching and learning experience? Can these challenges be addressed by designing instruction that is Multimodal and Multidimensional? Come and join us to explore this important topic.


Session 2: Culturally Responsive Teaching

Presenter: Stephanie Hicks, Lowndes County Schools
Description: Culturally responsive teaching is an opportunity for the teacher to integrate the cultural norms of the student into the classroom and provide a space where students feel comfortable learning. This presentation would provide participants with an overview of culturally responsive teaching and strategies that culturally responsive teachers use to create successful behavior and academic outcomes for students of color. Teachers will learn strategies that can be used in all academic areas, behavioral strategies, and how to support the socio-emotional wellbeing of their students of color.


Session 3: Technology Beyond a Google Doc (PK-12)

Presenter: Rebekah (Ambie) Watson, Pierce County Schools
Description: Teachers often think implementing technology is putting a worksheet on Google Docs. However, technology has the power to create a rigorous, engaging, and differentiated classroom. Join Ambie as she shares tips and tricks for Google Suite that will help you Get Your Tech Together!


Spring 2022 Workshops

Best Practices For Writing Across The Curriculum

Presenter: Jessica Graves, Scintilla Charter Academy
Description: When all classroom teachers collectively equip students with the skills necessary for successful reading of complex texts and expression of ideas, students are empowered to demonstrate mastery across content areas. In this session, Dr. Graves will provide a sample of evidence-based strategies teachers may implement, across the curriculum, to maximize and enrich instructional time. Participants will receive step-by-step guidance and examples of how to use these strategies to support student learning - regardless of the curricular resource adopted. Additionally, participants will receive a glimpse into how the public charter school setting creates a space for innovation and collaboration resulting in improved student outcomes.


Understanding and Supporting Gifted Students

Presenter: Ophélie Desmet, Valdosta State University
Description: This session will provide a broad overview about gifted education in Georgia, including the nature and needs of gifted students and gifted identification policy. It will provide information and resources to classroom teachers about providing socioemotional support to gifted students as well as targeted motivation and differentiation strategies.


Storytelling Time With Digital Resources


Presenter: Taralynn Hartsell, Valdosta State University
Description: Stories teach, inform, demonstrate, and inspire learners to be creative and remain engaged. Stories created with multimedia not only improve technology skills of learners, but also expand various literacy skills. Story development also motivates learners to share ideas that open opportunities for collaboration and discussion. The presentation covers aspects of designing and developing digital stories using various resources. It also addresses practical uses of implementing digital storytelling as a creative activity.


Fall 2021 Workshops

Employment Benefits: A Comparison Between Rural and Urban School Districts

Presenters: Jamie Brown, Forsyth County School District & Donya Gillespie, Berrien County School District
Description: How do I decide what type of school district is best for me? What defines a rural and urban school district? This session will provide attendees with an overview of two counties in Georgia, Berrien and Forsyth. Topics will include the benefits and differences of being employed in a rural or urban district from the perspective of the Human Resources division. The representatives will also provide information of current and upcoming job opportunities within their districts.


Georgia's Seven Models of ESOL


Presenter: Randy Gladwin, Valdosta State University
Description: The state of Georgia expanded the allowable models for language assistance/English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) delivery. Sheltered instruction still dominates as a delivery model. But, there are seven models that may be used in school districts. Furthermore, dual language immersion is now an accepted instructional model that is growing in popularity. This presentation will showcase the seven ESOL models that teachers may find in schools throughout the state of Georgia and highlight several successful dual language programs.


Virtual Teaching Toolbox

Presenters: Danielle Croft, Amanda Harrell, Trennia Johnson, Tiffany McCoggle, & Donna Santana, Valdosta City Schools
Description: What's in your virtual teaching toolbox? To build your virtual/online teaching effectiveness, you need the right tools and appropriate strategies. Learn what the Kindergarten team of Pinevale Elementary School did to conquer the challenges of being a hybrid teacher for the 2020/2021 school year and how it impacted them as a team and their grade level.


"Keeping the PACE" Summer 2021 Workshop Sessions

Creating Authentic Learning Experiences with 360° Videos (PK-12)

Presenters: Jiyoon Jung, Daesang Kim, D. Laverne Hill, and Heather Morin, Valdosta State University and Lowndes County Schools
Description: This presentation will introduce principles of designing an authentic learning environment, explore benefits of using 360° videos to enhance context authenticity, and showcase how to create 360° videos as a resource in an online professional learning environment.


Engaging Students with Openers and Closers (PK-5)

Presenters: Danyel Rucker and Jonathan Tomberlin, Lowndes County Schools
Description: The most important part of a lesson is the opener. It is the one chance you have to gain the attention of your students and make them want to learn more about the skill you are teaching. Although openers and closers may be difficult to come up with, they are a requirement in the lesson planning process (for Lowndes County) and are a must in the delivery of a lesson. We would like to not only deliver information on types of openers and closers that could be completed with and without technology but also demonstrate what they would look like with educators within our area. After the presentation, it is our hope that our peers and colleagues feel more comfortable with grabbing the attention of our students and then using a closer to determine if the skill was mastered. Lastly, we hope that teaching how to analyze and use the data from a lesson closer, would be beneficial to educators when planning lessons and differentiated learning groups within the classroom.


Using Technology to Engage, Enhance, and Extend Math and Science Learning (K-12 Math and Science)

Presenters: Kristy Litster and Regina Suriel, Valdosta State University
Description: This presentation will introduce three categories of free technology resources that K-12 teachers can use to engage students in the learning process, enhance students’ understanding of math and science concepts, and enhance their learning to connect real-world application of the standards. While the examples and activities in the presentation will focus on math and science integrated tasks, many of the resources can be used in multiple content areas.