In 2015, two ESD 123 Content Coordinators came together to create a training designed to meet the unique needs of early career educators. At that time, none of the 23 school districts within ESD 123’s region participated in the BEST grant and the need for new teacher support, especially for the smaller, more rural school districts was high. Thus, Tools that Work was born.

Since its inception 3 years ago, ESD 123’s Tools that Work has grown from 23 participants to almost 50. Utilizing the State 8 Criteria as a template for topics, the presenters focus on areas that are most pertinent to novice teachers including classroom management, managing student learning and behavior, and understanding and responding to student data. Teachers come together to create a learning community, learning from each other and from the ESD Coordinators. Districts that have only one or two new teachers and districts that have teachers that are the only one with their job within the district are able to have their new teachers experience just in time learning with others like them from around the region. This is especially important for the region’s small, rural districts where the capacity to provide intentional professional learning for new teachers is limited.

“I really enjoyed this training. It was a great refresher on many of the concepts I had learned in school and it was more relevant because now I am teaching and had more pertinent questions to ask. I loved the chance to get together with my friends from my district once a month and learn together… They helped me with classroom management, parent communications, helping every student learn, and different strategies to keep kids engaged. The teachers were on top of things and prepared each week.”

– First year teacher, North Franklin School District

Tools that Work has enabled ESD 123 Content Coordinators to work together in a way that they have not done previously. The Coordinators work together to develop, plan, and present the monthly trainings. Coordinators divvy up the learning sessions, which has worked not to only distribute the workload but also to bring in the various areas of expertise to different sessions. Georgia Boatman, ESD 123 Regional Science Coordinator; Brenda Dunn, ESD 123 Regional Math Coordinator; Jenny Kelly, ESD 123 Regional P-3 Early Learning Coordinator; Mary Kirby, ESD 123 English Learner & Migrant Coordinator; and Sarah Reser, ESD 123 Regional Literacy Coordinator worked together to provide engaging and appropriate learning for the area’s novice teachers.

For more information, contact Mary Kirby, ESD 123 EL & Migrant Coordinator and BEST Consortium Lead,