Yesterday at Forest Green School, we had a fantastic professional development session. It started with a 30-minute open session where staff were just able to take the time and write a blog post. As this is a new school wide initiative that will be trickling down to our students in the next month, I wanted to ensure that I gave them an opportunity to just spend some time writing a post and seeing what others wrote as well. It was a great opportunity for our staff to develop their own learning in this initiative and give them dedicated time to write. (We used this document to inspire some ideas)
After we came together and looked at each other’s posts, we then dived into the rest of our morning. As we are working on our second year of our teacher-led professional development plan, I talked with our staff about the importance of focusing on directly impacting student learning through our vision. I thought directly about the following quote:
As we move forward, it is essential that our goals focus directly on how the impact and improve student learning. There is definitely a time where we need to focus on building staff capacity in new initiatives, but any successful professional development will shift this capacity from teacher to student to ensure we are “transforming” the way learning happens.
For example, as our staff continues to develop their capacity for blogging, how will we shift this practice from being simply a way of communicating with parents, students, and teachers, to a medium that positively impacts student learning? It is imperative not only for our students that we use blogging as a way to open up conversations and learn from each other, but it is also essential that all of our staff see the opportunities that blogging creates in our learning community. This cannot come without a certain amount of understanding of the technology (how to write a post, hyperlink, etc.), but we must continuously look on how it will impact learning and why we are using this in the first place.
As an instructional leader within a school, it is essential that I help to first build staff capacity, but the vision MUST positively impact student learning. This should be the goal of all professional development plans. Leaders must not only have this vision, but the patience to see it through.