Feedback Needed: Creating the Right Professional Development Plan

7/22/2014 12:00:00 AM

Disclaimer: if you are from my district, these are just thoughts I'm getting feedback on and not set in stone.

The 2014-2015 school year is approaching quickly. As I enter my second full year as a technology director I have been thinking a lot about vision, branding, and professional development. My boss challenged me to put together a strong professional development plan for this school year. I recently shared my proposed plan with her and my team.

I hope that you will take some time to:
  • look at the highlights of the plan.
  • provide feedback.
  • make suggestions.
I am not looking for a pat on the back or affirmation. I need to be challenged and pushed in my thinking. I just finished my third year out of the classroom and I want to make sure my thoughts are still relevant to the teachers and students I serve. 

Data Driven Decision Making
First of all, you need to know that last year we sent out a massive survey called "GCCS Needs Assessment". It was a huge list of "I can" statements revolving around using the different technology tools available to our teachers. Our amazing principals also did walkthroughs all year long and every time they did a walkthrough they submitted a google form about what they saw. A big portion of my thought process was based on these two pieces of data, conversations I've had with teachers/admins/students, and other personal observations. 

eLearning Coaches
I am very fortunate to work with 3 amazing eLearning Coaches. They all 3 work with 6/7 schools a piece. Yes, I know we need more...we're working on it. Here is how I see them being utilized going into year 2 of their position.
  • eLearning Coaches will base weekly PD on Needs Assessment, Goal Clarity Windows (Curriculum Maps), and the district weekly PD focus (pedagogy, literacy, balanced math, and College & Career Readiness).
  • eLearning Coaches will work with Director of Technology and building principals to develop a plan and times when coaches will work with staff through Period Zeros, team planning period, personal planning periods, and co-teaching opportunities
TEaCHing Tuesdays
Throughout my first full year we had great conversation about how technology should be invisible. It is not the focus of the work we do. What we do is about teaching and learning. I just believe in the power in leveraging technology in the pursuit of learning.

I am working with a couple of friends to come up with a graphic for "Teaching Tuesdays" where the letters for "tech" stand out in the work "teaching" to indicate that tech is integrated into teaching. They are not two separate things.
  • Teaching Tuesdays will occur most Tuesdays after normal school hours. (Actual time/location TBD)
  • Teaching Tuesdays will offer breakout sessions, both virtual and face to face.
  • Breakout sessions will center around integrating GAFE, MBC, web-based tools, ActivInspire and PowerSchool into teaching. Pedagogy will be a huge focus at these PD sessions. 
  • One session will always be an open session where teachers can come and work on lesson plans with a coach. 
  • Sessions will primarily be led by Director of Technology and eLearning coaches but could also be led by Teacher-Librarians, STCs (School Technology Contact), other certified staff members, and/or vendor-partners.
eLearning Website/Blog
  • eLearning Team will finish developing help websites with contact information and tutorials on the different tools we use in our district.
  • eLearning Team will provide a weekly blog post by a team member.
  • eLearning Team will promote and participate in Connected Educator month in October, Digital Learning Day/Month in February, and conduct a 15 Day eLearning Challenge.
      20% Time
      • 20% Time is the philosophy that gives employees the opportunity to work on a project of their choosing.
      • Each eLearning Coach would develop, document, and implement a 20% time project.
      • The project can be with a class, a school, or district wide.
      • Projects must be approved by Director of Technology and Executive Director for Educational Services.
      • eLearning Coaches will document his/her experience through a blog.
      • eLearning Coaches will be given a budget to work on their 20% time project.
      • eLearning Coaches will pick one day a week to work on their 20% time project.
      Teacher-Librarians
      One of the exciting I've got be a part of is the opportunity to work with passionate people and reimagine with them the work they do. After working with our media-center specialist, we decided their roles needed redefining. Two are biggest initiatives in our district are literacy and technology integration. Our media-centers should be the center of these initiatives. With some help from our current media-center specialist and the amazing Shannon Miller, we rewrote the job description and have started the process of transitioning to this rebranded position called Teacher-Librarian. This is the outline of my plan to work with them.
        • Throughout the school year the teacher-librarians will transition to the new job description.
        • The Director of Technology will meet monthly with Teacher-Librarians to assist in the transition to these new roles/responsibilities.
        • The Director of Technology and eLearning Coaches will provide PD opportunities and connect teacher-librarians to other teacher-librarians from around the country.
        We're also interested in rebranding the media-centers themselves. I'm thinking about the name "learning-centers". What do y'all think?

        Technology Strategic Plan
        Now my district already has a strategic plan. I just want to beef up the technology piece of it and help create a better vision and brand.
          • Purpose: To build upon the current district strategic plan and create ownership across all stakeholders.
          • A Technology Strategic Plan Committee will be formed with a representative from each building, at least 5 parents, at least 5 students, eLearning Coaches, tech service members, at least 1 school board member, and administrators.
          • Committee will meet regularly throughout the year and develop a plan around these 5 pillars.
            • Academics
            • Infrastructure
            • Digital Citizenship
            • Professional Development
            • Financial/Budget
          Feedback Needed
          Ok, this is where you come in. What do you think? What do you like? What would you change? What would you add? What would you take away? Does this help all of my stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, admins, school board members and community)?

          Thank you for taking the time to read all of this and for leaving comments!

          cross-posted at  www.educationdreamer.com

          Brett Clark is an elearning coach for the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation. He talks about tech tools on the Flipped Learning Network's weekly podcast. He is also a regular guest on the TeacherCast podcast and a blogger for TeacherCast.net. Read more at www.educationdreamer.com.

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