Welcome to the Staff Development Department

Commitment and Beliefs

Irvington Public Schools’ Staff Development Department is committed to ensuring continuous growth and development of all staff. Collaboratively, the department works with building-level and district-level administrators to develop and implement a system of professional learning opportunities over the course of the school year. We believe that learning is a lifelong process and that quality, targeted, job embedded, adult learning opportunities can improve staff performance and subsequently greatly enhance learning opportunities for all students.

Here to Assist You

x2116 Amirah Cureton,
Confidential Secretary

x2134 Bria Wallace,
Confidential Secretary

Learning Better Together

Our Strategic Goals

To create and implement a consistent, coherent system of professional development that will inform, enhance, and increase the professional learning for administrators, teachers, and support staff.

To implement professional development that is aligned to District goals, the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS), the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, (NJCCCS), and the Professional Development Standards for New Jersey Educators.

To foster the growth of new teachers through the development and implementation of a District mentoring program aligned to State guidelines.

To evaluate the quality of and the impact of professional development on student achievement and provide feedback to make all necessary adjustments for continued improvement.

Also, we are proud of our annual and on-going Kagan and SIOP training for our general education and English Language Learners. These practices support our district focus on student engagement, questioning, and feedback.

Moreover, this year we will begin districtwide training on Restorative Practices. The focus is on the district theme, RIGOR BEGINS WITH RELATIONSHIPS AND IS ANCHORED IN RELEVANCE. This initiative will help us foster an environment where behaviors are addressed while still fostering the social, emotional, and academic development of our students.

Our goal is to create a climate and culture of healthy, sustainable relationships in our learning community.

The following video is a small overview of this concept:

(If you are within the Irvington Public school network click here)

Restorative Practices and San Francisco Public Schools from Mark Wieser on Vimeo.

PLCs are small groups of faculty who meet regularly to study more effective learning and teaching practices. It is an effective method for infusing scientifically based research programs into classrooms through the identification of new programs or topics to investigate then study its effectiveness prior to sharing the results with other faculty in the school.

In PLCs, educators change their focus from being the teacher to being the learner. Through their participation in a PLC, educators have three (3) goals:

  1. Ensuring that all students learn. Every classroom includes students of varying abilities. In a PLC, teachers are prepared to serve both the students who learn material quickly and those who need additional time and support. That means developing a coordinated strategy to provide timely intervention when students are struggling.
  2. Creating a culture of collaboration. In many schools, teachers work in isolation. While staff may come together to formulate basic operational policies (like how to respond to tardiness or supervise recess), they may not engage in professional dialogue about what works in their classrooms. In a PLC school, educators share best practices, join forces to solve problems, and work together to improve both their individual and school-wide performance.
  3. Focusing on results. To ensure that a PLC meets its educational goals, educators must identify students’ current levels of achievement, establish clear educational objectives, work together to meet those goals and provide evidence that they have succeeded.

Benefits of Professional Learning Communities for Teachers:

  • Reduction of teacher isolation
  • Increased commitment to the mission and goals of the school
  • Shared responsibility for the total development of students and their success
  • Creation of new knowledge and beliefs about teaching and learning
  • More satisfaction, higher morale, and lower rates of absenteeism
  • Higher likelihood that teachers will be well informed, professionally renewed, and inspired to continue their professional growth and development

Benefits of Professional Learning Communities for Students:

  • Greater academic gains in math, science, history, and reading
  • Smaller achievement gaps between students from different backgrounds
  • Decrease dropout rate and fewer “skipped” classes in middle and high schools.
  • Lower rates of absenteeism


New Jersey is currently engaged in comprehensive teacher and principal evaluation system reform. The program began with a teacher evaluation pilot in the 2011-2012 school year, and has expanded to include additional teacher evaluation pilots as well as principal evaluation pilots in 2012-13. As twenty-six states have already implemented new teacher observation methods based on assessment as part of a nationwide educational reform initiative, New Jersey has just began to explore its options.

Recent research shows that effective educators are the most important in-school factor for student success. Additionally, the research reflects that teachers need timely, actionable feedback to improve their practice, and students deserve high-quality teachers who continuously grow and improve. The new evaluation system will provide insight about how to recognize great teachers, help good teachers become great, and help struggling teachers to overcome their deficiencies. More EE4NJ information can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/education/EE4NJ

Teach New Jersey

The TEACHNJ Act (“TEACHNJ”) is the bipartisan tenure reform approved unanimously by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Christie on August 6, 2012. The goal of the law is to “raise student achievement by improving instruction through the adoption of evaluations that provide specific feedback to educators, inform the provision of aligned professional development, and inform personnel decisions.” At its core, TEACHNJ reforms the processes of earning and maintaining tenure by improving evaluations and opportunities for professional growth. Specifically:

  • Tenure decisions are now based on multiple measures of student achievement and teacher practice as measured by new evaluation procedures.
  • Lengthy and costly tenure hearings are shorter, focused on process only, and less expensive.
  • Educator feedback and development is more individualized and focused on students.

For more information on Teach NJ click here.

As you continue to learn, grow and develop in the field of Education, an updated process is now in place to assist you in requesting tuition reimbursement.

Step 1. You must obtain pre-approval for any coursework for which you will seek tuition reimbursement from the Irvington Board of Education by completing the Tuition Reimbursement Course Pre-Approval Form. (See Forms and Reporting)

Step 2. Upon receipt of approval for your coursework, you must register for the course and provide the following to the Assistant Superintendent’s Office to supplement your pre-approval application:

– A registration receipt indicating the date you registered for the course (i.e. the word “registration or register” must appear on the registration receipt. An enrollment verification/confirmation document will not be accepted); and

– A tuition and fee schedule indicating the cost per credit.

Please be aware that you will only be reimbursed for tuition, not additional fees assessed by your institution. Please also be aware that the Assistant Superintendent’s Office will provide a response to your request within thirty (30) calendar days, so it is incumbent upon you to submit your request in a timely fashion to avoid the closing of your class before confirmation of pre-approval. Finally, incomplete applications will be rejected.

Step 3. You must successfully complete your coursework, obtain credit for the course, and earn the grade required by your collective bargaining agreement.

Step 4. Upon satisfaction of the requirements in Step 3, you may submit your application for reimbursement of tuition costs. Please consult the Tuition Reimbursement Request Form. (See Forms and Reporting) Please be aware that all documents requested therein must be attached to the request or it will be REJECTED.

Staff attendance at out-of-district conferences is encouraged and supported by Irvington Public Schools. When identifying potential professional development opportunities, staff members are asked to connect their desired professional learning at each conference with the District goals.

NOTE: If a purchase order is required, please follow payment procedures given by your principal, supervisor or director. Board approval does not guarantee the purchase order has been processed. You must obtain a copy of the purchase order before attending the workshop to ensure admittance into workshop.

1. Fill out the Conference Request Form (See Forms and Reporting) in its entirety (i.e., vendor location/payment info, conference title, funding information, account number, turnkey information, and requestor’s signature). All incomplete conference request forms will be returned.

a. A signature is required from the principal, director, or supervisor (i.e., the immediate supervisor).

All incomplete conference request forms will be returned.

2. Attach all pertinent information:

a. Workshop brochure

b. Professional Development Plan (one-time submission to be included with first workshop request of the year).

3. Send the above information to the Director of Curriculum & Instruction at least 60 days prior to the conference date to seek Board of Education at the next scheduled meeting.

a. All conference requests should be submitted by the resolution due dates which are listed on the Conference Request Form.

4.If approved by the Board of Education, an approved Conference Request Form with all necessary signatures is then returned to the school for Supervisor of all attendees for appropriate distribution.

a. A Purchase Order must be generated for all fee-based conferences at the site of origination (e.g. the school or department).

5. Registration for the conference is to take place by each attending staff member, unless directed otherwise by your immediate supervisor.

6. Staff members are required to submit a Turnkey In-Service Report (See Forms and Reporting) to the Director of Curriculum & Instruction within 5 days of attending a conference. A turnkey presentation must be provided to the appropriate staff within 30 days of attendance at the conference. Staff members who do not complete turnkey requirements may have future requests denied.