Monday, February 28, 2011

The Evolution of Professional Development

On Friday we are having our 4th and final Professional Development day of the year. With both the support and assistance of our administrative staff we have been making some great strides when it comes to PD, and I can honestly say I am proud of the day we have planned for our teachers. The purpose of this post is to tap into the power of my PLN to get feedback and suggestions. Particularly, I am interested in knowing if other schools and districts are using similar formats, as well as any ways you think we could improve upon our offerings and/or the structure of the day. Thank you in advance for your assistance!

We have full-day PD days, and consequently we have divided the day into 3 parts:

Part 1 - 8:00am - 11:00 - 3 sessions on a rotating basis

Our staff is divided into 3 groups: Group 1 is Math and English
                                                Group 2 is Science and Social Studies
                                                Group 3 is Vocational, Practical Arts & Humanities
                                                *Special Education is with their cooperating department

Fedex Time: We will be providing our teachers with 45 minutes to research, explore and discover something educationally related. Our goal is to reinforce the notion of autonomy among our colleagues, while also giving them the necessary time to explore. The last 15 minutes of this session will be used to share resources and links. Additionally, we will be providing a Google Doc for teachers to list the links and a brief description of what they discovered.  

Service Learning: This session will provide additional time to share and collaborate ways in which our staff can implement Service Learning projects with the local establishment we have teamed up with. Either as individual classes or groups within departments, this time will be utilized by teachers to help put their plans into action.

Advisory: In this session we will get the opportunity to talk about and discuss our upcoming half-day. This is the first year of our school wide advisory program, and as such we have been spending a lot of time talking about ways to increase its effectiveness and ways we can improve upon it for next year. The advisory session helps to model different strategies and methods our teachers can use with their students to both establish and strengthen relationships.  

Part 2 - 11:00am - 12:00 - Powerlunch *Optional and NOT required*

"Powerlunch" is a working lunch where both teachers and administrators spend an hour talking about any and all issues related to education and ways we can improve student achievement at our high school. Our goal is to provide a relaxed environment where educators can feel free to talk and discuss educationally related topics. This is only the 2nd time we have offered a "powerlunch."

Part 3 - 12:00pm - 3:00 - 6 sessions: Teachers choose to attend 2 of the 6 sessions

In an effort to meet the needs of our teachers we are constantly polling and asking our teachers to evaluate how we are doing as a Professional Development Committee. We have selected sessions that teachers have expressed an interest in, and we hope that by providing 6 different choices we can meet the needs of our staff. We have been using and will most likely continue to use building teachers to lead our sessions because we believe in empowering and developing leaders among our staff. We sent out a Google Doc last week for our teachers to sign up for their two sessions.  

Session 1: Building and establishing student rapport - Lead by a building science teacher

Session 2: Video clips + discussion - Lead by me

Session 3: Blogging + readers & online animations - Lead by building English teacher @JPPrezz

Session 4: Brain research and classroom application - Lead by our Deputy Superintendent

Session 5: Strategies to increase parental involvement - Lead by two building math teachers

Session 6: Gradebook session - Lead by a building science teacher

Here is the schedule we have provided our teachers: 3/4/11 PD Schedule

A special thanks goes out to our presenters, and most importantly @thompson_shs, @JPPrezz, and our building Principal @mrgrimshaw for their hard work in making this day possible.

What are your thoughts...?