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Professional Learning

Learning organizations are organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.   -Senge, The Fifth Discipline

The Why

  • Effective professional development can boost students’ achievement by about 21 percentile points (Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss, & Shapley, 2007).
  • Foster a community of professional inquiry within the school and district. Build staff capacity to improve outcomes and a culture of constant learners engaged in practice together.
  • Provide strategic and sustainable guidance to help learners grow and increase effectiveness.
  • When designing adult learning experiences:
    • Adults need to know why they should learn something.
    • Adults have deep need to be self-directing.
    • Adults become ready to learn when they experience in their life situation a need to know or be able to do in order to perform more effectively and satisfyingly.
    • Adults enter into learning experiences with a task/problem/life-centered orientation to learning.

The How

  • Keep offerings focused and dive deeply into the learning.
  • Initial exposure is engaging and offered through varied approaches.
  • Content is grounded in staff member's discipline or grade level.
  • Duration of professional learning is ongoing to allow time to learn and grapple with the implementation problem.
  • Coaching support is provided to teachers during implementation stages.
  • Staff provide one another with social and emotional support as they collaborate to troubleshoot implementation challenges and strong practice.
  • The goal is not to limit staffs’ options and choices but to design meaningful and sustained learning experiences.
  • Give thoughtful consideration to the ways in which adults learn most effectively---not only as individuals, but also as a socially constructed collective.
  • Use data checkpoints to adjust professional learning in order to maximize the impact of and support staff in their learning journeys.

The Process

 professional learning process

Culture Change

The change from professional development to professional learning occurs through a series of micro decisions and consistent messages that communicate, “This is a place where we all learn and grow.” As we navigate this cultural change, we will keep these considerations in the forefront of our thinking: 

  • We regularly celebrate staff members’ progress and growth in regards to professional learning.
  • All members of the organization participate in professional learning networks supported by collaborative teams. Leaders will be transparent in their learning, implement implementation challenges, and the steps they are taking to overcome them.
  • We create systems that enable staff members to share best practices with one another.
  • We regularly asked staff members’ opinions about how we can continuously improve.
  • We offer professional and system level learning that is exceptionally clear and focused on the goals of the district, school, and department.
  • We will leverage data (instructional framework evidence, workforce safety evidence, collaborative team data, etc) to enable teams and individuals to create personalized professional learning experiences.
  • Learning for adults is a highly social activity and must be treated as such.
  • Professional learning needs to be viewed as a positive means to enhance what is happening in the classroom. Change is uncomfortable at first and requires extra work, but most staff will continue their implementation efforts if they see positive results.

Areas of Focus

Using data analysis, we will determine general areas of focus and ensure professional learning supports the:
  • strategic plan,
  • collaborative team goals,
  • compliance requirements



References:
Calvert, L. (n.d.). Moving from compliance to agency: What teachers need to make professional learning work. Learning Forward &National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future. Retrieved from https://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/pdf/teacheragencyfinal.pdf

Rodman, A. (2019). Personalized professional learning: A job-embedded pathway for elevating teacher voice. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Yoon, K. S., Duncan, T., Lee, S. W., Scarloss, B., & Shapley, K. L. (2007). Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement. Issues & Answers, REL 2007-No. 033. Retrieved from https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/southwest/pdf/REL_2007033.pdf
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