GSD Adds Instructional Specialists

To meet the demands of changing expectations in education, Grenada School District and several successful surrounding school districts of comparable size have added content-specific Instructional Specialists to meet higher levels of expectations. GSD has expanded their commitment to the continual improvement of teaching and learning by adding two Instructional Specialist positions, Dr. Julie Riales to serve as the Math and Science Specialist and Mrs. Emily Tindall to serve as the Language Arts Specialist.

Dr. Riales is an alumnus of Grenada High School and a nationally board certified teacher. She has taught in the public school system for 17 years, including seven years in the Grenada School District.  She returned to the University of Mississippi in 2009, working as a graduate assistant at the Center for Math and Science Education, while obtaining a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and a Doctorate Degree in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Tindall is originally from Mathiston, Mississippi, but has lived in Grenada for seven years. She has taught in the Grenada School District for five years. Mrs. Tindall possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Language Arts and a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Tindall will graduate in December 2011 with her Specialist’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Both Instructional Specialists are committed to professional development and lifelong learning.

The Instructional Specialists are working with administrators, principals, and teachers in all schools to determine areas that need improvement. Specific duties include modeling best instructional practices to enhance student achievement, conducting classroom observations and follow-up conferences, and examining and modifying District Common Assessments to guarantee appropriate depth of knowledge levels. The Specialists analyze and utilize assessment data to determine strengths and weaknesses of student achievement, provide professional development opportunities to enrich teachers’ content knowledge, and assist teachers in implementing effective classroom instruction. A primary task of the Specialists is to promote higher levels of instruction and to engage students in critical thinking activities or discussions. In addition, the Instructional Specialists provide continuing support in the transition from the Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks to the Common Core State Standards, the new State curriculum that has been adopted by 44 states.

The Instructional Specialists are a means of providing continuous, content-specific direction for planning, instruction, and assessments. They are assisting in the improvement of the educational experiences and the levels of achievement for all students and are facilitating the transitions required in the demands and expectations of educational change.