Staff Development on a Shoestring

Make professional development work for you. Leadership consultant Price Pritchett says, "The biggest challenge today isn't getting an education, it's keeping one." Meaningful and practical staff development is a must for every school employee, but budget and time constraints can make it extremely hard to fit
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Make professional development work for you.

Leadership consultant Price Pritchett says, "The biggest challenge today isn't getting an education, it's keeping one." Meaningful and practical staff development is a must for every school employee, but budget and time constraints can make it extremely hard to fit professional development into the school day. However, there are strategies to circumvent these challenges and take advantage of opportunities that arise. Here are three suggestions for making the best use of time and reining in costs for professional development.

  • Change budgeting practices. Experts recommend allocating approximately 25 percent of a program's budget for professional development. Build this level of funding into new program funds and future grant applications, then leverage existing budgets by using multiple sources to split-fund current activities. For example, if teachers learn how to use a new technology-based instructional strategy for reading, combine funds from the reading program with technology dollars to pay for training.
  • Take advantage of free resources. Some publishers offer professional development to their customers for little or no additional cost, particularly if the training is negotiated at the time of purchase. Staff can also participate in free online course offerings from providers such as Teacher2Teacher Digital Workshops and Apple Learning Interchange. Courses at these sites cover a broad range of content areas and topics.
  • Provide your own ongoing support. Once staff has attended training, they can help one another during the implementation process. Using professional learning communities, staff can plan and reflect; provide peer observations and feedback; and read and discuss related literature, all within the context of the regular school day. Opportunities for collaboration may be further enhanced using free online tools such as wikis and blogs to foster anytime discussion. This approach may require restructuring staff meetings to accommodate planning and discussion time, as well as funding for substitute teachers to support peer observations.

Susan Brooks-Young is an educational consultant and writer.

Featured

Related

Staff Development 2.0

A report recently released by the Center on Education Policy (see News & Trends) reveals that the four-year-old No Child Left Behind Act has indeed served to shine a light on the importance of professional development for K-12 educators. Beyond that basic fact, though, any real broad-based impact on the training

Staff Development and Technology Solutions

Can you run a technology staff development program for a K-12 district of 22,000 students with only one trainer? This is the situation we found ourselves in. Our revised District Technology Master Plan called for offering staff training in technology skills. Here's how we managed. Background Located in Orange

Surveys on Staff Development Needs

Question: Do you have samples of needs surveys for staff development? The IT Guy says: Take a look at this sample of survey questions I used last Spring with middle school teachers in Plainview, Texas. It is available on http://www.wtvi.com/plainview/survey_questions.pdf. The results from that survey determined

Funding for Professional Development

Our current budget situation is making it more difficult to fund professional development for technology use just at the time when the staff recognizes the need for more training. Do you have any suggestions? Title II, Part D of No Child Left Behind funds technology initiatives and includes a requirement that 25%

Tips from the Bottom Line

A T&L columnist shares ROI highlights from the past year. Funding Technical Support Ongoing technical support is often under-funded in district budgets. Most fall far short of the Consortium for School Networking's (CoSN) recommended ratio of one technician for every 50 to 70 computers, or one technician for every

Technology Resistant Staff?

The teaching staff continues to be extremely reluctant technology users. We did not make our AYP target and now they cite this as a reason for not having time to use technology in their teaching. Is there any information I can use to help them reconsider their stance? You might want to share with your staff some

Shoring Up Your Staff: Timely and Sustained Teacher Support

For years experts have been warning that investments in educational technology will only pay off if an adequate portion of the budget is devoted to professional development and technical support. Simply installing new hardware and applications and offering a few training sessions is not sufficient. If left on their