Wednesday, June 27, 2012

William Hyres Named CCCOE’s Teacher of the Year

It is quite obvious, that when you walk into William “Will” Hyres’ Golden Gate Community School classroom in Rodeo, our Contra Costa County Office of Education’s (CCCOE) newest Teacher of the Year (TOY) has found his professional calling—and his students are the benefactors of his passion.  It’s a treat to watch Will tend to the needs of his entire classroom, which can certainly be a challenge, with ease and confidence.  Whether he needs to settle down a few students who are talking; presenting his lesson to the class; or walking over to a student’s desk, after being respectfully asked, “Hey Hyres, is this correct?” 

Most of Will’s 25 students, grades 7-12, have been referred by school district expulsion (John Swett USD), as well as truancy and behavioral issues.  His classroom is located in an old storefront on the main street of the small town of Rodeo, most of his students live within walking distance.  “As the only CCCOE class in town, Will must meet many challenges, but he has made them into many daily opportunities for the students and their families,” reports the school’s Principal Rebecca Corrigan. 

Right after earning his bachelor’s degree in history, followed by obtaining his teaching credential at Chico State University, Will began teaching for the Butte County Office of Education’s School of Applied Resources, which is their version of our community schools.  A few years later, Will taught a year of middle-school social science in a traditional-school setting, in Elk Grove, but he did not enjoy the experience as he did with the Butte COE.  While surveying his classroom’s students, during their lunch break, Will said, “I really like the personal attention I can give to my students and their parents with a class like this one.  For me, it’s a more positive teaching experience.”

After his traditional-school-teaching stint, Will joined the CCCOE in 2005.  “My mother graduated from [nearby] John Swett High School, so I feel good about assisting the students that come from the same region,” says Will.  “I either help them get back into John Swett, help them graduate, or help them repair their credits as much as humanly possible so that they can quickly graduate from adult school.”

“I watch them enter into college, work, and sometimes parenthood,” Will adds.  “They check back in with me, and I am pleased to see so many living productive and successful lives.  I sometimes hear the tragic stories about those who don’t finish high school, but I cannot dwell on the negative.  I see the harm that comes from not finishing high school, and though I will keep those tales private, I truly understand why it is so important that all kids be inspired to learn and keep learning past high school.”

Continuing to reflect about her newly honored teacher, Rebecca adds, “Will has created a ‘family feel’ to his classroom.  He has more than 80% attendance monthly, which is very impressive for a community school, and his class has a waiting list to enter.  One of the many reasons Will’s class is so successful is the way he develops relationships with the students and with their families.  Most days, after school, students stay to practice CAHSEE prep on the classroom computers and parents drop by to review their student’s progress, or just to talk.”

When reminiscing about his formative years, Will has fond school memories while growing up in Redding, California, “I was fortunate to attend public schools with dedicated teachers that inspired me to want to do the same.”  He quickly named-off a half dozen English, music, and history teachers who taught him at Enterprise High School, which he also proudly noted is a California Distinguished School.  “How lucky was I, to be raised in a small town in Northern California, with good teachers, and plenty of opportunity for hard-working individuals?”

And, how lucky are we at the COE to have Will??!!

Will, along with his 21 fellow distinguished TOY district representatives, will be honored at the upcoming Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration on September 20, at the Concord Hilton.

Professional Development Program Provides Support to Early Care and Education Professionals Throughout Contra Costa County

Staff from the Martinez Children's Center, Community Services Bureau Team participating in an end-of-year-group-reflection session, facilitated by Dr. Debi Silverman, Early Childhood Education program officer. 

by Ruth Fernandez, LPC Coordinator
The AB212 Professional Development Program, administered and implemented through the Contra Costa County Office of Education, provides professional development opportunities, coaching, mentoring, professional growth and educational advising to early care and education professionals throughout Contra Costa County.  The program serves approximately 450 early childhood educators working at state preschool and child development programs. 

The goal of the Center-Based Team Professional Development grant program is to support and empower teams of early care and education professionals to identify and engage in professional development with a team spirit and commitment to program goals.

The AB212 Center-Based Team Professional Development Program is designed to foster:

  • PEER-LEARNING - through the creation of small-peer-learning groups or discussion groups.
  • COMMUNICATION - to identify areas of staff expertise and areas for staff growth.
  • MUTUAL COOPERATION - to promote sharing of professional knowledge, to utilize knowledge gained from professional development opportunities into practice in the classroom, and to support team-based approaches to program improvement.
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT - in areas that have been identified by the staff team at the site.
  • PERSONAL GROWTH AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT FOR STAFF - to support the retention of a stable and skilled workforce.

Three years ago, AB212 began offering Center-Based Team Professional Development (CBTM) mini grants of up to $5,000 for early childhood programs that were interested and committed to developing and sustaining Professional Learning Communities (PLC) in their program.

Since the beginning of the AB212 CBTM program, a total of 15 teams of early childhood programs have engaged in intentional and purposeful activities to reach identified professional development goals which will support the early learning for children before kindergarten entry. Through collaboration and team-building, the early childhood educators have begun to review policies, develop new strategies, and implement new practices in their programs.  

As we conclude the fiscal year 2011-2012, the AB212 CBTM wants to celebrate and acknowledge the success of the teams who have completed the program.  Each team is committed to sustaining the PLC model by engaging in common and purposeful professional development to help them address a specific program need.

Martinez Early Childhood Center Director Cassandra Campbell, along with teachers Patricia Hamilton and Alma Bennett work together through a training on using the CA Preschool Learning Foundations and Creative Curriculum.

We especially celebrate Martinez Early Childhood Center.  They have participated in the CBTM program for three consecutive years.  As a result, the program has developed a brand new program website to increase communication with families about their curriculum, program philosophy, and year-round activities.  Part of their PLC work also includes alignment of Creative Curriculum with the CA Preschool Learning Foundations and classroom observation assessments. As CBTM program graduates, they will also play a leadership role by providing mentoring and coaching to incoming centers new to the professional learning communities model.  Congratulations Martinez Early Childhood Center!