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Classified Staff Members Participate In Career Development Conference at Africentric

August 16, 2022 -- Hundreds of classified staff members spent the first week of August honing their skills to prepare for the new school year through a career development conference.

Every year, secretaries partake in an August training to learn how to help manage school tasks. This year, the Training and Development Department organizers decided to marry that training with continuing education opportunities for intervention aides (IA), creating the first career development conference combining the two groups.

“I’m very impressed this year with how everything is set up,” started Intervention Aide Wilbert Norman. “They really treated us like professionals.”

Norman has worked in the District for 15 years and said he does it because he loves working with the students. While he’s participated in training sessions before, he said sessions offered here showed new perspectives to help him this school year.

While sitting in a session, Norman said he remembered a situation where he “didn’t understand the student as an autistic child or the things he was dealing with.” 

“By going through that session, it helped me prepare to deal with that much better and let me know how to be more patient. So, if I see a different behavior, I know when to just wait things out and see another approach to de-escalate the situation,” Norman said.

Training and Development Director Melvina Torbert said she wanted classified professionals to enter the year knowing development workers are setting the goal of providing more opportunities for them to grow professionally. That’s why she lined up various training and development courses offered to IAs and secretaries, including sessions on behavior, stress management, using Kronos, and dealing with Red Rover, a system used for filling substitute teachers.

“This is not something we’re just doing for one day, this is a kick-off of areas that they can grow professionally, in areas that we can support them in with training and development,” Torbert said.

Presenters from Budget and Finance, Payroll, and other district departments helped collaborate to make the conference a well-rounded event for those in attendance.

Training and Development Manager Lydia Wiggins and Training Specialist Nicole Draughon hope to bring in more departments within the District for training like this one.

“I would love to see certified as well as our classified staff come together at some point and just understand what each other does,” Draughon started. “One of the things that I’ve come to identify during the past few days is that many of our classified staff have advanced degrees, and many are looking to go beyond what they’re currently doing. My goal is to look at ways we can retain that staff and help them grow here,” Draughon said.