Dr. Greg Betts is the Director of Professional Learning for Westside Community Schools. Dr. Betts coordinates the Lighthouse Educator Academy for new staff, the Master Mentor program, oversees the elementary reading coordinators and instructional coaches, plans numerous professional learning events ranging from one hour to multi day events. Dr. Betts is currently the MOEC (Metropolitan Omaha educational Consortium) Professional Learning Chair, Director of Foundations for the the Omaha PDK chapter, and is a member of Learning Forward, Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA), and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Dr. Betts is responsible for implementing Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching and the Adaptive Schools philosophy.
Westside Community Schools Professional Learning is a collaborative approach through the District Teaching and Learning Team, principals, and teachers to focus on the “basics” of good instruction. Professional learning is offered and delivered to all staff members to increase their understanding and expertise of new or existing knowledge and skills to enhance the learning experience for all students. The Office of Professional Learning has aimed to build a common vocabulary around learning objectives, student engagement strategies, and teacher actions to positively impact student learning, motivation, and achievement.Westside Community Schools provides all staff members with multiple opportunities to refine and learn new instructional best practices through four District Professional Learning Days, a focused two-day learning conference in May, multiple learning sessions during June and July, back-to-school learning sessions, District created online learning courses through Blackboard and Lynda.com, District curriculum specialists, and opportunities for staff members to present to their peers multiple times during the year. Continued support for our teachers has empowered them to continually provide high quality lessons leading to exceptional academic achievement infused with researched instructional best practices.
The mission of the Westside Community Schools District as an innovative educational system is to ensure academic excellence and to serve the unique needs of all learners. The Lighthouse Academy supports this mission by providing a comprehensive three-year professional and support induction program for all newly hired certified staff. ˇThroughout the first three years, teachers attend Academy sessions that provide the foundation for Instructional Best Practices to improve student learning and positively affect the whole child. Each teacher receives support through an instructional coach, master mentor, curriculum contact, District trainings, and individualized building support. Academy members participate in multiple classroom observations and reflective conferences with their instructional coaches, mentors and the Director of Professional Learning using the Framework for Teaching rubrics. The goal of the Academy is to support and grow world class teachers who are responsible for the whole child by ensuring maximum student engagement and achievement, building the capacity of all its educators, creating and maintaining an innovative and efficient educational environment, and cultivating a positive organizational culture that is inclusive, collaborative and trusting.
gs are staffed with a full- or part-time instructional coach to assist all teachers with continued lesson design and instructional development. Instructional coaches assist all teachers with lesson reflections, classroom support, and facilitating a coaching cycle. Instructional coaches will continue to support staff for as long as that staff member is assigned to their specific building. Instructional coaches will adapt their coaching style to meet the needs of all staff members while providing the appropriate amount of support and resources. All instructional coaches are trained by Sue Presler, Jim Knight, Anita Archer, and Mentor Training at UNO in addition to other professional learning opportunities. In addition, Instructional Coaches start every school year supporting Lighthouse Educator Academy members by providing extensive support in the area of Instructional Best Practice, classroom management, lesson design, and lesson modeling.
Westside Community Schools believes mentoring is building a personal and professional relationship in which an effective teacher provides instruction and guidance in order to help a newly hired teacher succeed. This relationship is based on mutual trust, respect, support, and collegiality.
Teachers who are mentored are more than two times as likely to stay in the profession, are more likely to enjoy their job, become stronger instructionally and more skilled with classroom management, and have increased student achievement. Westside has established Master Mentors who have been trained to provide growth and reflection conferences, have a deep understanding of Instructional Best Practice, and receive ongoing training in the area of mentoring.
P-12 Student Teachers
Westside Community Schools believes in working collaboratively with surrounding colleges and universities to support future teachers and educational practices.
The office of Professional Learning will work closely with the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in communicating with colleges and universities and placing student teachers in appropriate learning environments to help foster new knowledge and learning for our future educators.
The Director of Professional Learning in conjunction with the Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning directs and guides the elementary reading coordinators to meet the literacy needs of all students using an inclusive model. Reading coordinators also provide building support to principals and teachers and are members of multiple literacy curriculum teams.