One of my passions and goals for improving in the future is the structure in which I plan for and implement professional development for teachers at our school. By PD I mean staff meetings, data dialogues, early release times, etc. I feel like the timing is perfect based on the implementation of new teacher evaluation laws, models, and plans. At times in the past, the instructional delivery and strategies I’ve used with staff have not matched what I expect out of them in the classroom, especially when it comes to whole group structure. Sure, we break into small groups and I use Adaptive Schools strategies. But it’s not tailored to teacher needs as much as it should be and there is not enough teacher ownership. While I’ve improved in this area, it has been a work in progress.
I had to think differently and rely less on past practice and more on what possibilities there were. I told myself that this was the time to be innovative and creative. Evaluation and staff meetings CAN go hand in hand, teachers CAN use those structures as a growth model, but it’s up to me to come up with an individualized plan. After working closely with the 5D+ model for a few years, great people at MASSP, talking with talented educators all over the state, and experimenting with different structures as a principal, I have what I think is a really good model moving forward.
Here is the model, with some brief details. I will use 5D+ as the evaluation tool in this example, but I believe it could work with any of the models.
- Self-Assess in 5D+ – Teacher completes a self-assessment to start the year
- Focus area/goal setting conversation in 5D+ with principal – With the self-assessment as an anchor, the teacher and building principal collaboratively decide upon areas of focus for the school year
- At this time, the building principal would create small group cohorts, in collaboration with teaching staff, based on common focus areas.
3. Fall “Lab Classroom” – To begin the learning in this area, the small group would observe this instructional practice in a classroom at their school hosted by a peer. The principal would facilitate this process. (more about lab classroom: http://bit.ly/1IT44sF)
- Small group reading, researching, learning in staff meetings and other PD – With support of the building principal, staff members read articles, watch videos, and research information regarding their topic that will support them as learners
- Mid-Year evaluation meeting with principal – Reflection on progress in the area of focus and supports/changes needed for the second half of the year
- Spring “Lab Classroom” – A second opportunity to see a peer in your instructional focus area. It could be the same classroom or a different one
- Tape a classroom video or host a peer visit in focus area – This may be the biggest and most uncomfortable step for some. This can happen with one partner and have no involvement from the building principal. It is a way to show the application of all the learning from over the course of the year
- Reflective small group conversation – The group gets back together to share their learning over the course of the year and the impacts it has had on their practice and student learning
- End of the year meeting with principal – Summary conversation regarding the area of focus, evidence of growth, and next steps
The emphasis of this model is on growth. Growth through collaboration, transparency, small group and individualized learning, trust, feedback, teachers learning from teachers, research, application, and teacher ownership. All of those components live in this plan.
I think the model can be duplicated in any school at any level. If you would like more detailed information or I can answer any questions, just let me know. It’s a topic I’m passionate about and would love to share!
Often my blog posts say “consider this,” “think about this,” or “I have an idea.” Not this time. This is something I strongly believe you need to find a way to do.