|Welcome | Introduction | About the KEYS Action Guide|
|KEY 1 | KEY 2 | KEY 3 | KEY 4 | KEY 5 | KEY 6 | NEXT STEPS | APPENDIX|
| Appendix 1 | Appendix
2 | Suggested Readings
Tracing the evolution of KEYS
CONSIDERATIONS FOR EFFECTIVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Adapted from Making Standards Work: Center for Performance Assessment, Feb. 23, 2001
There are seven key points that should be considered when creating an effective professional development initiative at your school. Most important, the investment of your time and resources will be necessary to be effective in improving student achievement. The following are points to consider:
1. There must be a clear and consistent purpose for the professional development. The mission must be to improve student achievement by building the knowledge and skills of instructional and school staff.
2. Specific areas of knowledge and skills must be identified, such as designing and developing standards-based performance assessments, teaching strategies, data-driven decision making, and social/cultural impacts on learning.
3. The initiative must build a permanent resource base so that knowledge, skills, and abilities are shared during seminars, meetings, and planning sessions. The permanent resource may include: videotapes, some with authentic footage of students, teachers, and school leaders; simulation activities, speaker listings, best practices, and research updates.
4. Community and local leaders must be encouraged and welcomed to participate in school planning and decision making. Relationships must be sustained and nurtured through networking with others committed to improving school and student performance.
5. Efforts of teachers and school staff must be supported with a comprehensive accountability system that is aligned with not only test scores, but also with an integrated systemic approach to increasing student achievement.
6. School administration and policymakers must be supportive in their efforts through direct support and must have access to the most recent information. They must be treated and seen as full partners in this initiative.
7. There must be motivation to continuously learn from one another; follow-up and updates must be instituted at all levels.
Discussion Question: How can the above information assist you in your efforts to sustain an effective professional development initiative?
Building Bridges: The Mission and Principles of Professional Development
The mission of professional development is to prepare and support educators to help all students achieve high standards of learning and development (National Education Goals Panel 2000: February 2001).
Professional development plays an essential role in successful education reform. Professional development serves as the bridge between where prospective and experienced educators are now and where they will need to be in order to meet the new challenges of guiding all students to achieve higher standards of learning and development.
High-quality professional development, as envisioned here, refers to rigorous and relevant content, strategies, and organizational supports that ensure the preparation and career development of teachers and staff whose competence, expectations, and actions influence teaching and learning. It is clear that both pre- and in-service professional development requires partnerships among schools, higher education institutions, and other appropriate networks to promote inclusive learning communities of everyone who has an impact on students and their learning. This means those within and outside the school need to work together to bring ideas and a commitment to sharing resources necessary to address important and complex education issues in a variety of settings and for a diverse student body. Professional development works best when it is part of a systemwide effort to improve and integrate new knowledge.
The Goals Panel 2000 perspective states that professional development should incorporate all of the principles stated below. Adequately addressing each of these principles is necessary for a full realization of the potential of individuals, school communities, and institutions to improve and excel.
Principles of High-Quality Professional Development
How can the principles described above be used to create a rigorous and relevant learning experience that ensures career development paths for your school staff?
Creating Conditions for Professional Development
Adapted from Learning Circles: Creating Conditions for Professional Development by M. Collay, D. Dunlap,W. Enloe, and G.W. Gagnon, 1998.
According to former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, teachers and other educators play critical roles in education reform strategies intended to ensure that all students have equal opportunities to achieve to high standards of learning and development. With this in mind, learning must be seen as a process of change. We must therefore define learning as the process of changing what you know by constructing patterns of action to solve problems.
In order to create effective learning environments, the power of educators working in small groups will become instrumental in teachers’ having a choice in taking responsibility for setting their own agenda for studying, learning, and changing their teaching. These smaller groups are known as learning circles. According to Michelle Collay, et al, learning circles are small communities of learners among teachers and others who come together intentionally for the purpose of supporting each other in the process of learning. Learning circles can be made up of teachers, students, parents, community members, and administrators, and can be a combination of members from any or all of these groups.
From recent studies of learning theory, we have found six conditions common to healthy communities of learners. These conditions are necessary for initiating, maintaining, and sustaining communities of learners. These conditions are:
How would you implement the concept of learning circles to enhance learning?
Do you think learning circles would be a good approach for your school?
What would it take to align your professional development goals with creating a learning climate in your school?
Linking Student Achievement with Professional Development
In order to continually assess whether a school’s professional development initiative is effective, one must ask, “What are the principles that underlie effective professional development?” “Why is effective professional development crucial to a school improvement process?” “And how does our school establish an effective program of professional development?” These overarching questions will be the basis for providing you with examples of programs that link student achievement and professional development. (For detailed program descriptions, see the Tool Box.)