Magazine article The Learning Professional

Make Nsdc's Goal Your Goal

Magazine article The Learning Professional

Make Nsdc's Goal Your Goal

Article excerpt

NSDC s goal is that "all teachers in all schools will experience high-quality professional learning as part of their daily work." NSDC is counting on its members to make NSDC's vision your vision for professional learning and, thus, a reality.

Begin by identifying the educators within your sphere of influence - teachers, principals, district administrators. Help them understand the critical elements of high-quality professional learning. I suggest these criteria:

* Learning focused on clear and measurable goals for student outcomes;

* Learning guided by disaggregation of student data that identifies gaps in student learning;

* Learning that focuses on the core tasks of teaching; and

* Learning that occurs during the school day in school-based teams.

Once you've identified the key people you can influence and have shared the critical factors that constitute high-quality professional learning, find and share examples of where it is happening.

As director of professional development for Rockwood School District in suburban St. Louis, Mo., I support principals and teachers as they design and implement the professional development goals of their school improvement plans. Each fall, I meet with principals one-on-one to dialogue about their professional development plans.

To date, I've met with 30 principals. Here are some examples of high-quality professional learning that I've found in our schools:

* Principals and teachers analyze disaggregated student achievement data to identify gaps in student learning and develop goals to close those gaps.

* Teachers develop SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, ResultsDriven, and Time-Bound), which become the goals of the school's improvement plan. …

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