Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How we are individualizing PD.

Over the course of a month or so we have set out to take a serious look at our future professional development practices.  The overall goal is to develop a target for the coming years and focus all PD efforts around that target.  The target concept comes from Jim Knight in his latest book Unmistakable Impact.  I wanted to get away from the "spray and pray" approach when it comes to PD.

We want PD to do the following at our schools:

  1. Individualize! We found that one of the best ways to accomplish this is to use teachers to lead PD.  
  2. Provide follow up - We want to ensure that teachers try the methods and come back to share the evidence of use.  
  3. Jim Knight talks about the power of Praxis.  Just like students, we want teachers to apply the new skills or methods into the classroom.  Shouldn't PD be about getting new methods to actually enter the classroom and change instruction?  We want praxis!    
  4. Teachers need a voice in the development of PD, it cannot be top down decision making. 
  5. We will be implementing a part time instructional coach to assist in follow up and praxis.   
Methods to the madness.

Voice - We formed a team of teachers and myself as superintendent to question our current practices.  

Target - Our target is student achievement, and we felt we needed three prongs to address this target. 
  1. Engagement 
  2. Assessment
  3. Instruction 
From there we began to map out how we would address these areas and provide follow up throughout the year.  We agreed that the only PD our teachers would receive would be aligned to these three areas, nothing else would be allowed! We also agreed that we wanted PD sessions to be informal to increase engagement and dialogue - similar to the #edcamp model.  Formal presentations aren't allowed! We felt that each grouping should have a facilitator and use instructional techniques that encourage all to take part.  Groupings should be no more than 20 and lengths of sit time should be less than an hour.  

We preach student engagement all the time, why don't we ensure engagement for teachers as well?  Adult learners are very similar to students and engagement is equally important. 

Below is the current 'working' model that we will implement for the 2013-2014 school year.  

More updates to come! 

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