Professional development is intended to produce lasting change in educator practice to change student outcomes. When professional development and learning doesn’t lead to lasting change in the classroom, we waste time and resources, and erode teachers’ engagement in professional learning opportunities.
The reasons professional learning opportunities fail to lead to lasting change in our classroom are numerous. But a key reason is often that the learning wasn’t targeted for adult learners, was not job-embedded and ongoing, and lacked skilled facilitation to keep the focus on learning together in service to students.
Quality professional learning that occurs among peers relies on collaboration and requires commitments to work and learn between meetings. Working in teams also requires having skilled facilitators who can support their teams, keep them on track, and help team members transfer knowledge back into the classroom.
Facilitators in David Douglas
As the David Douglas School District strives to increase collaboration among teachers to help boost student achievement and teacher learning, we have a great opportunity. Under the Educator Effectiveness grant, a group of our educators has explored the value of deconstructing the Common Core State Standards and looking at the progression of the standards across grade levels as a way to fully support students.
The need to dive into standards arose from several data points and information from teachers and about teachers. They include:
- 2013 and 2014 Spring Professional Learning Surveys — Teachers said that while they value high quality professional development, most of the PD they receive is not targeted and relevant for their assignments;
- Winter 2014 Professional Learning Focus Groups — Teachers said that PLTs have the potential for collaborative learning to support educators’ practice, but that PLTs need to have clearer goals and outcomes to be more effective;
- Spring 2014 Oregon TELL Survey — 69% of DDSD teachers want more PD in Common Core State Standards and 48% want more PD in assessment literacy;
- And teacher self-evaluation data, which shows teachers have a need for professional learning in standards 1f: Designing Student Assessments, and 3d: Using Assessment in Instruction.
Teacher Supporting Teachers
To provide job-embedded support, David Douglas is training educators willing to lead collaborative Progression Teams at their school sites to help our district move toward full implementation of CCSS in a teacher-driven process. These facilitators will participate in training sessions this spring and August in preparation to support their school sites in 2015-16.
We believe strong facilitators who can work in support of their buildings and alongside building experts in classroom assessment literacy will usher in further positive changes in our school district to maintain the quality of education the David Douglas School District is know for providing.
Facilitators for Adult Learning have the following skills and attributes. They are:
- Comfortable with shared leadership/vision;
- Skilled listeners;
- Leaders with prior experience (not limited to education);
- Flexible thinkers;
- Skilled at organization;
- Confident communicators;
- And positive.
Identified facilitators will also obtain additional training in the following areas:
- Common Core State Standards;
- Coaching and mentoring;
- Conflict resolution;
- Deconstructing standards;
- And adult learning theory.
Facilitators will enable teachers to have more productive, individualized, job-embedded, and supported learning opportunities in their buildings. For more information about how facilitators will support professional learning in your building, contact your principal or any member of the Grant Manager team.