About Mary Mitchell

Mary Mitchell

Mary Mitchell, Senior Manager of Professional Development, oversees professional learning for the FLVS staff. A National Board Certified Teacher, she has received numerous recognitions including Teacher of the Year for FLVS, the United States Distance Learning Association, and Discovery Middle School in Orange County, FL. She has written articles on topics ranging from computer image processing to teacher training for the online classroom.

Professional Learning at FLVS in 2017

By on April 19th, 2017

LightbulbAt FLVS, our growing and learning continues daily! Learning isn’t just something our students do each and every day – our teachers do too.

Our professional learning team is an incredible group of educators who work tirelessly to help our teachers grow and learn so they can all reach their students effectively.

There are all kinds of exciting initiatives rooted in the Professional Learning team that we’re focused on in 2017.

We have amazing team members who benefit our teachers and staff with their commitment to providing stellar professional learning opportunities across our district.

Here are a few of the exciting learning opportunities we have for our teachers and staff to keep growing and learning: Continue reading


Professional Learning at FLVS in 2015

By on February 25th, 2015

Teacher PLAt FLVS, professional learning matters.

Learning that is student-centered, collaborative, sustained and data-driven is what drives success.

Student Centered

This is the year that every department and individual at FLVS is going to refocus. For our teachers, being able to identify and articulate professional learning goals directly impacts student learning, mastery, and performance.

This is what student-centered professional learning is all about.

Continue reading


Instructional Coaching the FLVS Way

By on April 1st, 2014

instructional coachingHow does instructional coaching work in a virtual world?  Have you heard about the Vir-structional coaching program at FLVS?

The Vir-structional program is designed to help those using a virtual platform to train, teach, and inform participants.  The goal of the Coaching Program is to deliver high quality technology-based education by increasing customer/student learning through engaging and interactive live lessons.

Instructional coaching provides a venue for instructors to share teaching ideas and strategies with each other. The coach is someone who has expertise and knowledge in developing highly effective and engaging lessons that will lead to increased participant learning. The coachee is someone who would benefit from a coaching relationship by being open and receptive to learning new tools, techniques, and strategies to increase participants’ attendance and understanding. Continue reading


Efforts vs. Smarts

By on January 10th, 2014

efforts vs smartsIn her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck explains the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset and how this impacts our success in learning and in life.  Dweck argues we aren’t just “born smart” or with certain abilities. We have the incredible capacity to learn and grow every day. We can actually expand our brains and intelligence with our effort.

In fact, Dweck claims that “praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success.  With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals – personal and professional.”

The underlying basis of the two mindsets, “fixed” and “growth” is illustrated in the chart below. Continue reading


Learning Forward – Part 8: Lesson Study

By on October 15th, 2013

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

The lesson study process is one of the most unique teaching techniques available to 21st century teachers. During a lesson study, instructors present a lesson and uncover what makes it effective or ineffective.  Bringing several teachers together and using their combined knowledge to create, teach, and reflect on a lesson is one of the best teaching strategies for instructors. Teachers are life-long learners and are always looking for ways to improve their skills. Lesson study is an ideal format to observe what does and doesn’t work and make improvements.  Continue reading


Learning Forward – Part 7: Action Research

By on September 4th, 2013

Action Research is a professional’s systematic, intentional study of their own classroom and workplace practices.  Teachers who collaborate and reflect have a direct impact on student achievement.

This form of professional development takes teachers beyond their own classroom and into each other’s.  Action research definitely makes for a great Professional Learning Community (PLC). Continue reading


Learning Forward – Part 6: Professional Learning Communities

By on August 5th, 2013

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Continuing my series on the Professional Learning standards, today’s blog post focuses on Professional Learning Communities. A Professional Learning Community (PLC) consists of educators committed to working collaboratively in an ongoing process of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.  PLCs are intended to improve student learning by providing continuous job-embedded learning opportunities for educators. A PLC utilizes data to identify gaps between learning goals and actual student achievement. Then, through action research, a PLC develops action items to make corrective changes.  Continue reading




Learning Forward – Part 3: Leadership, Resources, Data

By on April 22nd, 2013

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Now that we have unpacked the core elements of Learning Communities (view the previous post here), let’s move into the next three standards: Leadership, Resources, and Data.

The Leadership Standard states: “Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.” Continue reading