I have been very blessed in the district of Gahanna when it comes to professional development. Gahanna has made professional development a priority over the past three years and has rearranged the district wide calendar to accommodate this need including four to six built-in professional development days sprinkled throughout the school year. Therefore, professional development is not voluntary for our staff and happens within the confines of our typical school day and year which according to the article Why Professional Development Matters by Hayes Mizell, “professional development is most effective when it occurs in the context of educators’ daily work. When learning is part of the school day, all educators are engaged in growth rather than learning being limited to those who volunteer to participate on their own” (7). I have found that due to the fact that these days are part of our regular school year it makes teachers more invested and shows that administrators and those in charge of the decision making value growth for teachers as well as students.
When thinking back onto strategies that seemed to work when it comes to professional development the idea that stands out the most to me is ample time for collaboration. Those PD days that center on teachers discussing work, finding ways to improve teaching, and learning from one another seem to be the most beneficial and feel the most valuable upon completion. For instance, our district gives quarterly common assessments to all sixth grade students regardless of which school they attend. One of our professional development days this year was to analyze the results of the assessment then we discussed how or why a student could have missed the question based on the backgro. . whatever we are currently working on during these days which is reiterated in the article 7 Profound Professional Development Questions for Administrators when it states, “everyone needs freedom and choice to care out their own destiny.
” This promotes a positive environment where teachers do not feel forced into something. Furthermore, having in district people plan the professional development saves a great deal of money. I feel that people have the perception that professional development has to be elaborate, cost a great deal, and be from someone on the outside that has all the answers. I’ve found that with our instructional coaches doing most of the PD now that it has become much more focused, well-planned, and feels specific to my needs within my day and does not cost any money to the district. Therefore, it feels like a win-win situation for all involved!