DYS Professional Development

DYS Professional Development

Beyond Prevention

High-quality teachers are the key to successful learning for all youth. The DYS system educates a diverse population of young people who require individualized and responsive educational programming. The Collaborative works with DYS educators to provide the variety of strategies necessary to develop and prepare youth for success inside and outside the institutional walls.

As part of a commitment to continually improving teacher effectiveness, DYS follows a comprehensive professional development strategy to engage faculty in statewide, regional, and job-embedded professional development activities.

CES has engaged DYS teachers and staff in Culturally Reponsive Practice (CRP), transforming the way teachers and youth workers see the potential of youth in custody, requiring them to reflect personally and professionally on their interactions with each young person, their families, and even other staff in their programs.

Through a series of professional development days, teaching coordinator meetings, specialized trainings, and site-based instructional coaching sessions, DYS teachers receive support and gain proficiency in differentiation, monitoring student progress, instructional planning, teaching literacy across content areas, implementation of DYS’s Empower Your Future curriculum for career and job readiness, and test-taking strategies to improve student performance on high-stakes tests, including the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).

The DYS professional development model also provides training tailored for beginning teachers and teachers new to the DYS system to help build knowledge, skills, and understandings essential for new educators working in DYS facilities for the first time.

Training in Positive Youth Development and Culturally Responsive Practices

The DYS Education Initiative’s approach to professional development centers is grounded in research-based positive youth development (PYD) and culturally responsive practices (CRP).

Trainings provided through the CES partnership with DYS are designed to deepen understanding of PYD and CRP and identify strategies and practices that maintain academic rigor and high expectations for student performance while giving students experiences that are culturally relevant, enriching, and meaningful.

Geared toward both teachers working directly with DYS youth as well as Instructional Coaches, Education Coordinators, and others in leadership positions, trainings provide staff with

  • necessary instructional skills for effective assessment, planning, teaching, and learning
  • additional experience engaging in dialog around complex and challenging subjects such as race, ethnicity, culture, class, and adultism
  • the opportunity to examine beliefs about themselves as educators and students as learners.

Together, PYD and CRP provide a framework to give educators the awareness and skills to foster in all DYS youth a stable sense of self, belief in one’s abilities, positive and caring relationships with others, and a sense of control over future outcomes.

Curriculum Guides

DYS has developed an official program of studies to guide the selection and provision of classes to youth and to ensure credit recovery for students returning to their home districts. The DYS Instructional Guides are based on the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks in four core content areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and U.S. History I and II. An instructional guide built around the Empower Your Future curriculum also provides instructional guidance around career exploration and life skills.

The Instructional Guides are designed to differentiate instruction in order to attend to the wide range of learners attending DYS schools and provide faculty with the content guidance they need to be successful in maximizing the opportunity for DYS youth to make academic progress.

View and download the DYS Instructional Guides here

Technology and 21st Century Skills

Regional and statewide professional development initiatives model authentic use of technology to meet learning objectives and promote among teachers awareness of available software that supports the wide range of learning needs that exist in any given classroom. 

An Instructional Technology Coach provides small-group and one-to-one experiential learning opportunities and delivers professional development on the range of technological tools available that increase student success of the MCAS and GED, improve core content proficiency, and allow for credit recovery.