Redwood City, CA–Today, the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) and the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) launch a joint series of training programs for teachers across the county to help them deepen their skills in online instruction. More than 350 TK-12 teachers have signed up for the program, which is offered in three two-week sessions this summer.

Responding to an enormous need in the county as teachers seek to improve their online teaching skills, SMCOE partnered with SMCCCD’s Community, Continuing, and Corporate Education division to design the training program. A cadre of experts from both organizations as well as other Bay Area distance learning educators will deliver the program, which is tailored specifically for TK-12 teachers. Several of the sessions already have waiting lists.

The training sessions combine SMCCCD’s extensive experience developing and delivering online education with SMCOE’s deep content and pedagogical knowledge to create a comprehensive training program for teachers of all grades. 

The training program is unique in that it not only addresses how to teach online, but also provides instruction on assessment and grading, keeping students engaged, and communicating effectively. The training sessions are organized into grade-level cohorts, and teachers will apply what they learn to construct a unit of lessons to deliver when school resumes.

When the COVID-19 pandemic required that students and teachers transition to online teaching and learning almost overnight, schools did not have time to provide teachers with additional training. The need to promote physical distancing in classrooms and schools as well as the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 promise to keep distance learning on the menu of instructional options for the coming school year.

According to San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee, “It is only through partnerships like this one with the community college district that we can meet the tremendous needs of our schools, teachers, students, and families during these challenging times. I am very grateful to the community college district for its leadership and support and look forward to continued collaboration.”

“By working together to prepare our local teachers, the community colleges and county office of education will be able to offer students the best possible experience for learning online,” said SMCCCD Chancellor Michael Claire. “This partnership allows us to support our teachers and college faculty as they adapt to the reality of teaching online this fall.”

The partnership between SMCOE and SMCCCD builds on the work of both organizations to help prepare teachers and schools to address the challenges posed by COVID-19. SMCCCD formalized its plans last week to host almost all of its courses online for the fall semester. To support this effort, the District launched its own professional development program to train nearly 500 of its faculty members in online education techniques this summer. The 25-hour course is supported by $1 million in Federal CARES Act funding and provides comprehensive training in online learning technology, online communication, educational equity, and other critical support to students.

SMCOE released last week the Pandemic Recovery Framework for Schools, which provides guidance on preparing for a return to on-campus teaching and learning while COVID-19 is present in the county and state. The Framework also addresses on-campus and distance learning as well as a hybrid of the two.

For more information on the SMCOE/SMCCCD training program, please visit SMCOE’s website.