Professional development is the vehicle for change. Done properly, it opens doors for the type of change that is systematic and necessary for a school district and its staff to keep pace with a myriad of adjustments. Proper professional development is based not only on the needs of the staff but the fulfillment of the goals and strategies set forth in the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. The Professional Development Committee (PDC) embraces the rationale of the National Staff Development Council’s Standards for Staff Development. The norm of continuous improvement is a belief that learning about one’s work is never finished, professional development is dynamic. It is every educator’s task to refine skills, inquire into practice, and construct craft knowledge while working with peers. The explosion of educational research in the last 15 years has meant that in order to become an effective educator there is much more to know and apply concerning instruction, learning and leadership. These norms are reflective of continuous improvement:
- The norm of continuous improvement implies that staff development supports the ongoing development of new skills. (i.e., job-embedded examination and development of new skills.)
- The norm of experimentation is a belief that effective implementation of a new technique takes time and those early trials will not be perfect.
Strategies which support ongoing development include study groups, action research groups, observation and assessment, peer coaching, training and follow-up, participation on school improvement and/or curriculum writing teams, and problem solving sessions throughout the year.