Tennessee district boosts adopts online PD

By most accounts, the Wilson County School System (WCS) in Tennessee was already doing a great job of teaching its 15,000 students in 2009. But it lacked one important thing—a strong professional development solution for teachers.

With a staff of nearly 1,000 teachers, 48 percent of whom had a master’s degree or higher, WCS had its hands full ensuring each teacher received the specific training he or she needed. WCS administrators turned to an online program called PD 360 for a solution to this challenge. PD 360 is an online library of professional development resources that provides access to a large and diverse cache of education videos.

At the start of the 2009-2010 school year, Wilson County teachers joined a network of more than 700,000 educators in North America who use PD 360. With the online platform, they could instantly connect with other professionals in their field in many locations to learn and share key insights. They also found content tailored to each teacher’s needs.

“Many of our teachers are saying that this is the best professional development they have ever experienced,” said Monty Wilson, supervisor of secondary curriculum and instruction at WCS. “In addition to providing high-quality presenters, PD 360 also excels in sharing practical, real-life teaching examples in current classroom environments.”

PD 360 serves Wilson County teachers in several ways:

• Each school customizes PD 360 lesson plans to address its specific needs

• Principals observe teachers in the classroom and then suggest PD 360 lessons to help teachers improve in certain areas.

• Administrators track teachers’ PD 360 usage and progress.

Each year, WCS students outperform the state average in virtually every academic category, including reading, writing, math, and science, thanks in part to PD 360—and a lot of hard work by Wilson County teachers.