There is always a debate when the term Professional Development is used, and I simply want to be clear. A great Professional Development (P.D.) program and strategy are essential for great schools. Therefore, the P.D. program must strive for greatness.
We do not do a bad job, but we can be much better. The funding is there (although I will always strive for greater financial resources in this regard), the allocation of funds is, for the most part, effective, and the initiatives are excellent. As before, I would like to list my thoughts as to what constitutes a great P.D. program and strategy.
1) All P.D. activities must relate to the Vision and Mission of the school.
2) De-centralization of P.D. is crucial. Approval for P.D. funds needs to be granted through one’s direct report.
3) Centralized control is only relevant in terms of allocation of annual budget.
4) Accountability must be to one’s direct report but also to the community at large.
5) Every staff/faculty member must undergo a reflection after each P.D. event. This can take the form of:
- a. Preparing a report on each P.D. event. One report is acceptable when more than one person attends the event.
- b. Making a presentation to the faculty or part of the faculty.
- c. Meeting with Head of Division or School for discussion.
6) Each faculty member needs to submit a brief written summary of each P.D. event and submit for inclusion in their staff file.
7) Wherever possible, at least two faculty members should attend an event, activity, or conference. The research on this is clear.
8) We should look at FEEP, and through Sylvain’s leadership, use P.D. opportunities from this organization.
9) Visiting other schools is an effective and inexpensive P.D. opportunity. We need to do more.
10) Visiting each other is an effective and expensive P.D. opportunity. We need to do more.
11) We should make every effort to share articles, books, video, clips or other ideas.
12) The book club should be heavily promoted.
13) Discourse (an important component of faculty culture) needs to be supported, encouraged, and celebrated.
Naturally, there are many more ideas, but at least this is a start. Think about greatness.