Instructional Leadership & Curriculum
Purpose of Professional Development Teton County School District # 1 is committed to providing all staff access to research-based and effective quality professional development. The National Staff Development Council (NSDC), a leading educational organization whose purpose is to “ensure that every educator engages in effective professional learning every day so that every student achieves,” forms the basis of the District’s definition, standards, and assessment of professional development.
TCSD has developed a Comprehensive Professional Development Plan to serve as a framework, thereby establishing a coherent system for the delivery of job-embedded professional development. This system creates a culture grounded in adult proficiency that drives student achievement. According to NSDC, many studies have focused on the amount of time it takes individuals to learn and use new instructional strategies at a high level of quality in the classroom. The most effective professional development occurs over a period of several years in order to support teachers’ use of the new strategies or curriculum. Depending on how different new practices are from current practices, teachers and principals may take two to three years to use new strategies consistently and with high quality. Thus, the District’s professional development plan has a multi-year perspective, with annual revisions. Included here is the school year 2012 – 2013 plan.
The district’s plan starts with data, which is the basis for school improvement plans as well as the District Strategic Plan. The data encompass both leading and lagging indicators, including student achievement and trend data, behavioral data, efficiency and effectiveness improvement data, surveys, and feedback from teachers and administrators. This current plan provides a comprehensive and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement.
Focus & Evaluation of Professional Development for School Year 2012 - 2013
Focus: The District’s Strategic Plan has four goals: 1) Improve Academic Achievement for All Students, 2) Ensure a Safe and Caring Learning Environment, 3) Achieve efficient and Effective Operations, and 4) Increase Community and Stakeholder Involvement. Professional development is centered on these four goals, with particular focus on the instructional core, which the District defines as teacher’s knowledge and skills; student engagement in their own learning; and aligned, challenging content. The Center for educational Leadership (CEL) from the University of Washington is a key partner in our work with the instructional core. Based on the instructional core, the district has identified six areas of professional development:
Evaluation: Building upon 2012 – 2013 professional development, all certified staff utilize a continuous improvement model to develop and strengthen their practice. Jim Shipley and Associates provided the model for using a “plan, do, study, act” cycle around instructional operations and new initiatives. This model allows for analysis, reflection, and adjustment as staff strengthens their professional practices. This model provides both short and long-term assessment of professional development. After each session of professional development, participants use a “plus/delta” protocol to determine what worked well and to recognize areas that are in need of further improvement. Participants also provide feedback on an evaluation form.
At the end of the school year, the district uses the NSDC Learningforward Standards Assessment Inventory to form baseline data for all professional development initiatives. This inventory informs the district about future implementation of professional development.
Appropriate funding is critical to the success of the Professional Development Action Plan. Funding comes from many sources, as indicated below:Resources
· District-wide staff development budget
· Site-level staff development budgets
· Instructional Facilitator grant
· Title I Consolidated Grant Funds
· TIII Consolidated Grant Funds
· Title II-A Federal grant funds
· USDE Teaching American History grant funds
· USDE School Mental Health Integration Funds
· The Teton County Education Foundation
· Title I (1003g) Federal grant funds
Time is a valuable resource that is used purposefully in supporting professional development. Time for professional development is provided to all instructional staff members in the following ways:
· Twelve day-long professional development days are provided throughout the year, including days at the beginning of the school year, throughout the year, and at the end of the year;
· Five professional development days for professional development in August;
· Summer learning opportunities; and
· Professional leave granted for out-of-district professional development.
Administrative support is a key element for successful professional development planning and implementation. The superintendent and the administrative leadership team work together to plan, analyze, and evaluate the effectiveness of staff development programs.
At the building level, principals monitor and supervise all professional development. Professional development planning at the school site is aligned with the school’s improvement plan, and is the shared responsibility of the principal and the building’s School Improvement Team. Teacher leaders serve in leadership roles at each site.