Magazine article The Learning Professional

Florida District in Redesign PD Community of Practice Partners with Teachers

Magazine article The Learning Professional

Florida District in Redesign PD Community of Practice Partners with Teachers

Article excerpt

As one of 22 districts participating in the Redesign PD Community of Practice, facilitated by Learning Forward, Lake County Schools is learning the importance of redesigning professional learning in partnership with teachers.

When Andrea Pyatt, the district's Innovative Professional Development (iPD) facilitator, stepped in to her role in early 2015, she reviewed student data and saw low performance in math across the district. Coming from a background in health care, where she was a clinical scientist, she didn't want to roll out a new professional development program without improving the overall professional learning system. "You can't just randomly throw PD to teachers and expect it to change the system," she says.

She also wanted the process to be led by teachers and informed by their feedback. So she created a math team with middle and high school teachers, administrators, and district-level math specialists across all grade levels.

"I wanted it to come from the team and not from me," she says. Through their conversations, team members shared that because the new standards require more advanced math skills in lower grades, many teachers felt they didn't have the skills and expertise they needed to teach the content.

"This team really stepped up and told me what they needed," Pyatt says. "I'm glad that we had these conversations because they were very open and honest with me and we learned together."

The program specialist at the secondary level, who has since moved to a state-level position, designed an in-person content training for teachers in which she presented them with a math task and challenged them to work with other teachers to solve it. …

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