The Muscogee County School District spent almost $14,000 to send 36 employees on a 2 day staff development retreat this summer. News Three has been investigating this story all week and Thursday Christy Nolan, the Director of Professional Learning, talked about the retreat. Nolan said the money comes from the Title IIA grant program. The purpose of that grant is to increase student academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality. Nolan said the almost $14,000 was a good use of this fund.
The Muscogee County School District got a little more than 2 million dollars this year for improving teacher quality. Christy Nolan, the Director of Professional Learning said the 2 day staff retreat July 25-26 was only .06% of the Title IIA grant fund.
News Three's Naomi Keitt asked Nolan if there was a way that the event could have been hosted in Columbus possibly at a school since it was such a short time frame and could have saved taxpayers more money. Here is Nolan's response.
"We'll most of the time in most businesses that are trying to go from good to great, and that is our goal here, we want to give the best professional development opportunities to our teachers that we can," said Nolan. She said they looked for locations in Columbus but it was cheaper to go to Peachtree City for the retreat.
News Three's Naomi Keitt got a copy of the agenda used over the 2 day retreat. It includes presentations by a professional consultant paid for by the school district. Other costs over the weekend were a bus to get employees to the hotel, and a 2 day stay at the Peachtree City Conference Center.
Nolan said retreats are common for new school openings.
"Muscogee County did the same thing for North Columbus. When I was a teacher at North Columbus when it opened we went to Indiana," said Nolan. She said retreats are vital to preparing staff and the money from the Title IIA grant can only be used on improving teacher quality.
Throughout the school year, the funds are also used to provide mentors for new teachers and training before and after school.
Nolan said when the new elementary school opens in Muscogee County, they will also have a retreat for its staff.
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