Sunday, August 2, 2015

Personalized Professional Development Plans

 "All teachers will develop and maintain a Professional Development Plan that identifies areas for targeted growth and learning. Completion of the learning opportunities within the plan will be considered a matter of professional responsibility. The plan can include a varied amount of conferences with an administrator depending on the type of plan."  (Educator Effectiveness System Manual, 2015-2016, page 7)

EES has been controversial since it was first implemented for all public school teachers in Hawaii two school years ago.  The system was created as part of Hawaii's Race to the Top grant with the expectation that teachers' evaluation would be tied to test scores.  That first year was a nightmare, and teachers and administrators alike protested  vehemently about the poor rollout and training. (See a blog I wrote after that first year titled, "How Should Teachers Be Evaluated?".) Last year, the Department revised the expectations so the requirements were more do-able. The system, however, continued to pay minimal attention to Core Professionalism, and despite the added responsibilities, there were very few teachers who were rated "Marginal" or "Unsatisfactory" under EES.

This year, all teachers will be creating a personalized professional development plan as part of their EES evaluation. I believe we are finally on the right track! I hope that teachers will be motivated and engaged in growing professionally because they will be able to choose what they want to learn more about and how that will impact teaching and learning.  Along the way, their assigned administrator will meet with them to provide guidance, point them to resources, and have meaningful conversations where teachers will reflect on their progress and how their focus for their professional development plan (pdp) is positively impacting  teaching and learning.

What do we need to put in place so all teachers at our school can be successful?  First, we will ask teachers to share what they would like to focus on for their PDP.  Those who are interested in the same topic or question can work together as a professional learning community.  We will provide time for groups to meet at school, and teachers will be encouraged to share resources, observe their partners in the classroom,  participate in honest conversations, and join virtual communities on their designated area of interest.  This PDP is about demonstrating the General Learner Outcomes which are indicators for success in life. What we teach our students every day about the GLOs is just as applicable to us as adults. 

Our school vision is "Hale Kula empowers learners to explore, discover, create, and share."  This applies to ALL of us at the school; we are all learners.  This personalized professional development plan will allow our teachers to explore an area of interest.  They will discover new information as well as new ways of improving their teaching which will then positively impact student learning.  Teachers will be asked to create something to share their learnings with others.  What they share can be displays of student work, reflections, or any product of the teacher's choosing. This whole process is about empowering teachers with the choice to determine how they want to improve. 

I am appreciative that the Department has opted to place more emphasis on teachers' professionalism by requiring Professional Development Plans for everyone.  I know that this is a work-in-progress, but because it is personalized, there is an expectation that every teacher will be engaged as learners in this process.  At the same time, every teacher and administrator will gain by learning from others, not just when we allocate that time during faculty meetings, but through conversations and discussions, visiting classrooms, and sharing photos or student work in our school virtual community.  

Let the learning begin!

Providing time for teachers to learn from each other is essential.  How we provide that time will be determined after our teachers select their area of focus for their professional development plan.

1 comment:

  1. I am also excited about collaboration with fellow colleagues to enhance and enrich our Professional Learning Community (PLC) which in turn will help with personal growth through combined efforts.