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By Dr. John Urkevich, Executive Director

Missouri House Bill 2 “appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the State Board of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.” If this bill were voted into law, funding would be eliminated for teacher professional development. The purging of funds for professional development would likely mean the closure of Regional Professional Development Centers in the state. HB2 has passed the House and is now in the Senate for consideration.

Created by Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as part of the Educational Reform Act of 1993, the St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center is one of nine regional centers strategically placed across Missouri. More than 250,000 teachers each year receive professional development through Missouri’s RPDCs.

The St. Louis RPDC operates under contract with Cooperating School Districts, and combines CSD staff development opportunities with DESE resources.

The Regional Professional Development Centers act as a vehicle for school improvement. What does the RPDC provide educators?

  • premier growth and development opportunities
  • community resources
  • specialized academies
  • consulting and evaluation services
  • information about models and applications of current research

In St. Louis, the pooled resources between DESE and CSD make it possible for the RPDC to offer cost-effective, high quality professional development with both national and local experts. The Regional Professional Development Centers are key to offering proven, research based programs to teachers and administrators in Missouri, which will result in improving education for our students.

Here is a short list of examples of workshops and programs offered by the outstanding staff of St. Louis RPDC:

  • St. Louis Teacher Academy
  • Quality Health and Physical Education Workshops
  • STEM – Starting Everyday Mathematics
  • Cognitive Coaching
  • Aspiring Principals
  • Music Educator Forums
  • Best Practice Institute
  • Team Building
  • Instructional Coaching
  • Research-Based Strategies
  • DOK – Depth of Knowledge

If Missouri’s Regional Professional Development Centers were to be closed due to lack of funding by the state, it would severely limit our ability to train and retrain teachers to affect much needed improvement in skills necessary to educate children for the 21st century. Educators need to both teach and learn, and the St. Louis RPDC, and those across the state, facilitates important continuing education.

CSD is currently working with our state Senators in order to get money to fund our RPDCs. To learn how to contact your state Representative and Senator to share your opinion on the importance of our RDPCs, please visit Cooperating School Districts’ Legislative Updates and Advocacy website.

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