This year's professional development schedule is now (tentatively, as always) set. It was approved by the Teacher Quality-Professional Development Team yesterday. We are committed to designing and delivering professional development that:
~ models effective instructional practices
~ meets individuals where they are and provides support to move toward our goals
~ capitalizes on our internal expertise
~ is action-focused and immediately usable to impact student learning
Our professional development activities are based on these commitments and two clear themes that emerged in the time I’ve spent this year in your classrooms and talking to many of you. These themes align with our district goals and represent our collective needs with multiple pathways into and out of the learning to support individual needs.
I heard loud and clear that we need support for meaningful technology integration. This includes opportunities to learn about a variety of tools that can enhance teaching and learning. With this in mind, we will be spending two of our professional development days focused on this using an unconference format.
An unconference is a participant-driven conference centered around a particular topic or purpose. Our topic will be Technology: Ideas Worth Sharing. We will identify WSR teachers who are using technology to enhance (student and adult) learning. We will start with a TED Talk-style, five-minute overview from each presenter. Each presenter will be assigned a room to offer additional coaching for those who would like to learn more. You will all “vote with your feet” and spend the remainder of the time in a small group where you can learn by doing.
Secondly, I heard a distinct call for time and opportunity for teacher collaboration. This includes the need to develop a shared understanding of meaningful collaboration, as well as gather our collective wisdom to inform systemic and structural changes to allow for meaningful collaboration in the future.
In an inquiry-based exploration, we will PLC about PLCs, framing our inquiry around the essential question: What does my PLC look like, sound like, and feel like? Through reading, discussion, and opportunities to interact with members of high-functioning PLCs in other districts, we will seek deep understanding of what a PLC looks like, sounds like, and feels like at WSR, as well as inform structure, tools, and processes for the 2011-2012 school year.
As always, comment, email, call, or swing by. I’d love to hear your thoughts.