Supporting Our Staff
We believe the best way to support students is to invest in our staff. Through Professional Development and Coaching, a focus on Employee Wellness, and a vast array of Leadership Opportunities, we are able to build and support robust and collaborative teams to impact student learning.
We are committed to providing professional development to our staff to support the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional development of our students.
- Professional Development Days / TLDs / Late Starts: We have 3 full days of professional development built into the calendar, as well as one half day eight times a year at the elementary level and weekly late starts at the middle school level. These dates are often dedicated to either school-wide or district-wide initiatives. Examples of district-wide training and implementation include Writer’s Workshop, Restorative Practices, Meeting the needs of English Learners, and Fountas and Pinnell Classroom.
- Summer Professional Development: We also provide optional summer professional development the two weeks prior to school beginning, including everything from SpEd and New Teacher orientations, Classroom Management and “Behavior is Communication” sessions, to Supporting Reluctant Writers, Coaching and Conferring within Writers' Workshop, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Inspirational Math, and Virtual Tools for the Classroom.
- Targeted / Ad Hoc PD: In addition to professional development provided by our own staff, we bring consultants in for specific topics for site and/or district, send certificated and classified staff to relevant conferences, and participate in PD series, including Silicon Valley Math Initiative series, SJSU Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child’s series on Culturally Responsive Teaching, UC Berkeley History/Social Science project, You Cubed, and Teacher's College Readers' and Writers' Workshop.
Professional development without support often results in frustration and “fizzle”. To that end, we have a cadre of coaches to support staff in honing their practice.
- Instructional Coaches: Each site has an instructional coach who works in partnership with teachers to conduct inquiry cycles, model lessons and/or strategies, and provide feedback. There are also district programmatic coaches who support district-wide initiatives in reading, writing, and math.
- SEL Coach: Our district SEL coach provides professional development on the Social, Emotional, and Cultural Anchor Competencies, and works with individual teachers to incorporate relevant SEL/Culturally relevant strategies into their classrooms.
New Teacher Induction Program
The Sunnyvale School District, in partnership with the Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project (SC/SVNTP), carries out the California State-approved Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (Formerly BTSA) Teacher Induction Program and guidelines of SB 2042 for all of our first and second-year teachers. This program is fully funded by the district. Click here to learn more!
Sunnyvale's Teacher Induction Program supports a full-release model where Induction Mentors do not teach in the classroom as their primary focus is to support our new teachers through the implementation of a quality Teacher Induction Program while nurturing the growth and responding to “in the moment” needs. The Induction Mentors meet with their assigned teachers regularly to reflect on their practice and guide them with incorporating Best Practices into their teaching, including setting goals, analyzing student work, writing lesson plans, and implementing classroom management strategies.
The benefits of the New Teacher Induction Program for the participating teachers are:
- Fulfillment of Induction requirements for a California Clear Credential
- Collaboration with highly qualified Induction Mentors
- Opportunity to attend professional development workshops/seminars
- Opportunity to earn College Credit
- Advancement of Best Practices and Assessment Strategies
We know that in order to be able to give our all to our students, we need to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. The employee wellness program provides well-rounded support to promote health and balance for our staff. Here are some of the services we provide.
- Resiliency Consultants: In partnership with Acknowledge Alliance, we have mental health professionals working as Resiliency Consultants at each site to promote teacher resiliency. These consultants act as “counselors for staff” in a number of ways. They run Resiliency Groups to meet teachers and administrators where they are, listen to what they need, and work directly together to create a healthy, positive school environment. Consultants also provide individual check-in opportunities for staff members who would like more 1:1 support.
- Employee Assistance Program: In partnership with Optum, we are able to provide 5 counseling sessions per issue per year at no cost to the employee.
- Employee Fitness: In partnership with SCCSIG, we are able to provide a variety of free at-home and in-person fitness options including Yoga and Tai Chi! There are also several opportunities throughout the year to participate in wellness challenges -- sign up with a team to participate in challenges around mindfulness and movement and earn prizes!
Leadership and Growth Opportunities
We believe in supporting the growth of our employees not just through professional development, but also by providing opportunities for leadership. Here are a few examples of some of the certificated and classified leadership opportunities available in the Sunnyvale School District:
- Grade Level Leads
- PLC/Data Team Leads
- Site Instructional Coaches
- District Induction Mentors
- District Program/Curriculum TOSAs
- District Content Leads / Committee Leads
- Classified Job-Alike Leads
Pathways to Teaching (Classified)
We know that some of the best preparation for becoming a teacher is through working at a school site! With our “Pathways to Teaching” program, classified staff may qualify to have partial reimbursement of tuition costs to pursue a career in teaching. Click here to find out more about how we can help you become a teacher if you join our classified staff!