As we reflect on the agenda for our March 5th staff development training, we ask ourselves a crucial question, “Is this training the kind of professional development that builds teacher capacity and sustains improvement?”
To find our answer, we continue asking…specifically “du four” questions from Rick DuFour:
- Does the professional development increase the staff’s collective capacity to achieve the school’s vision and goals?
- Does the school’s approach to staff development challenge staff members to act in new ways?
- Does the school’s approach to staff development focus on results rather than activities?
- Does the school’s approach to staff development demonstrate a sustained commitment to achieving important goals? Rick DuFour Leading edge: The best staff development is the workplace, not in a workshop, Journal of Staff Development, 2004
Read on to learn how we address these four questions as we design our next-week’s staff development opportunity at NMUSD Adult School.
1. Vision and Goals:
On March 5th, NMUSD Adult School technology peer mentors will work with our staff to expand our knowledge and skills in ways that will help us achieve our vision and goals.
NMUSD Adult School Mission
Vision: empowering a learning community, transforming our world
Mission: Our mission is to provide lifelong educational opportunities and services which address the unique needs of individuals and communities by providing adults with the knowledge and skills necessary, including technology, to participate effectively as citizens, workers, parents and family members, and be contributing members of the local and global community.
Click here to view our website and see how our vision and mission are reflected in all we offer and do.
2007-2008 Professional Growth Plan Goals:
Empower a professional learning community to improve learning and performance.
Click here to view/download our 2007-2008 PG Plan in its entirety.
You can learn how we collectively identified these two goals by viewing our PowerPoint: Empowering a Learning Community, Transforming our World
To learn more about how we continually fashion and focus our professional growth plan, peruse the following articles:
- A Good-to-Great Professional GrowthPlan
- Professional Growth Plan: SurveyResults
- Professional Learning Communities2.0
- Two Transformative Movements in AdultEducation
- Designing by Doing – A Dynamic Professional GrowthPlan
- A Professional Growth Plan for aPLC
2. Acting in New Ways
Our focus on collaboration is pushing us to act in new ways: specifically, to work together, share and help each other develop and implement strategies that will improve student learning. The March 5 training reflects this collaboration focus in the following ways: 1) training was designed by staff that serve on our professional growth team, 2) training presenters are our peer mentors and PG team members, 3) the content is intensively hands-on and requires active participation from all participants, 4) the follow-up/accountability piece requires all participants to use new knowledge and/or skill(s) acquired at the training within a week. They will share their experiences on the blog.
3. Focusing on Results
To ensure that our training focuses on results, we employ the follow-up/accountability commitment that asks teachers to reflect on this question, “What evidence can you provide that applying this new learning in class helped students achieve at a higher level?”
We realize the importance of a coherent plan that can be sustained over time, and we expect incremental improvements on an ongoing basis. Our March 5 training continues to focus on the two goals articulated in our professional growth plan. The training topics are highly relevant. They were chosen by our professional growth team to meet the prevailing needs and goals of our staff, as articulated in our midyear professional growth survey (January, 2008). You can read about our professional growth survey results in the article: Professional Growth Plan: Survey Results.
Our March 5 training follows DuFour’s tips for fostering powerful site-based staff development by offering:
a. Built-in structures that require teachers to work together within training
b. Expected learner outcomes presented at beginning of training and real outcomes shared at end of training
c. Commitment to established norms
e. Tools and data learners need to achieve
f. Follow-up and accountability (Participant identifies one SMART goal to achieve within the week.)
g. Celebration of success (positive feedback to comments on blog…)
h. Feedback via survey and informal discussions
After reflecting on our responses to the four DuFuor questions, we believe that our March 5 training, in the context of all the other trainings we offer throughout the year, advances our commitment to building teacher capacity and improving learning for all.
To learn more about our various NMUSD Adult School staff development opportunities for 2007-2008, refer to these sources: