Documenting Teacher Professional Development Programs
When we develop learning experiences for colleagues, there is a lot of thinking, planning, and content development that has to take place. Part of providing professional learning is to model the approaches and behaviors we want to develop in our participants.
Two schools have decided that, just as their teachers are documenting curriculum in Atlas for use with students, professional development leaders could use the same development and documentation process to both strengthen adult learning and to model best-practice. See how they are doing just that and download their templates too!
Join the growing numbers of schools and districts who are using Atlas to design and document professional development.
Designing Teacher Professional Development in Atlas
Materials prepared by Kathy Berry, Coordinator of Research, Evaluation, & Assessment
**This section is adapted from a webinar. View the recording here.
Instructional and assessment protocols, which are best-practices for working with students, are often the same protocols that work well with adult learners. This is a pedagogy that professional development consultants at Monroe County ISD in Monroe, Michigan adopted to design their professional development sessions.
In an effort to consolidate and strengthen the ISD’s multiple academic initiatives, Monroe County’s team team adopted an approach that mirrored teacher’s curriculum work. They chose to design and document their professional development in Atlas using a modified Understanding by Design template. Explaining their decision, Kathy Berry, Coordinator of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment, says:
We were forced to not focus on the sessions’ logistics and what we were going to say, but what the participants’ outcomes were.
This small but important choice allowed the team to not only model quality mapping for participants but also develop the PD content in the maps.
Monroe County ISD grouped their sessions into topics: Curriculum Development, Classroom Strategies, Data Analysis, etc. These groupings formed courses, making navigation for the teacher looking for PD much simpler. As sessions are developed, the facilitators attach valuable resources so those in attendance – and those not – can access important resources vis a vis the units.
The template provides a category for reflection that captures both the moderator’s reflection as well as the reflections of teaches in attendance.
With greater transparency, improved efficiency, and deeper documentation of PD, Monroe Co. ISD has developed outstanding depth of PD content. See for yourself, download their template below or use the link to their Atlas public site to see the PD courses they’ve developed. (Note: As professional colleagues, we encourage you to contact Kathy Berry and credit the original source.)
Individualizing Teacher Professional Development in Atlas
Elijah Bonde, Principal Nativity Preparatory Academy
This was blog post was originally published here.
In my current role as principal, I am tasked with designing and carrying out professional development for the school. One of the hardest parts of designing high quality professional development has been making it individualized—current research shows that individualizing professional development has significant impact on instructional practices.
Similar to the needs of our students, we should give our teachers time to work with new ideas in a way that will benefit them. Some teachers will have more or less experience with a topic or learn with different modalities. The difficult aspect of individualizing professional development is similar to designing a high quality 21st century learning environment. We have not seen these strategies in practice, so it is difficult to design trainings.
I have decided to use action research as my main method for individualizing the professional development that I lead. Action research is a reflective process that is rooted in creating actions to improve practice. Action research provides teachers a structure to work through their growth and gives them the opportunity to speak confidently about the work they do and why they do it.
In our school, we use the Rubicon Atlas curriculum maps to design templates to go through the action research process. Atlas provides the means to facilitate action research, allowing for reflection and growth, while minimizing the time commitment of teachers. In our templates (see below), we used short, open text boxes with prompts to guide the reflection.