Professional Development Philosophy
At Derby Public Schools as part of our vision to reach every student, every day, preparing for the future, we strive to have meaningful professional development for all staff to ensure we can positively impact student learning. Our philosophy for professional development aligns to the following definition, delivery methods and goals.
Professional Development and Learning experiences for all staff, certified and classified, who are involved with educating students will be defined as activities that are aligned with district belief statements, the District Improvement Plan, department/school goals and objectives, and tiered to meet individual improvement plans.
"Formal" (conference, seminar, workshop), "Informal" (book study, collaborative discussions, observations, learning from a peer), activities should be reflective of state/district/building goals in a variety of designs and collaborative groups.
The mission of Derby Public School's PDC is to create a tomorrow that is better than today by ensuring all students continually grow and learn.
This group sees the following needs as fit for professional learning.
- Should emphasize life-long learning: no educator is too experienced to improve
- Emphasizes gathering experience, skills rather than just earning points
- Applies strategies to student-learning should be the driving principle behind PD
- Provides more secondary-level training in specific special needs like autism, TBI, ODD, learning styles, etc
- Increases opportunities for training of classified personnel
- Uses all-inclusive ways to collect the teacher opinions for PD opportunities
- Employs sharing by staff members, giving ample time to prepare concepts and materials for presentation
- Chooses research-based practices that are driven by improving student achievement
- Utilizes differentiation based on the perceived and evidentiary needs of the participants
- Connects back to student learning data to identify professional development needs
- Seeks to apply teaching and learning within the context of each educator's role
- Addresses the systemic needs of teachers/schools/districts
The committee agrees on the need for decreasing the following practices as described by the following resource: (https://code.org/educate/professional-development-philosophy)
• Transitioning information or facts--rather, we should strive to empower deep and meaningful learning of concepts, skills, and the processes involved in their attainment.
• Showcasing the "sage on the stage" talking at participants and presenting information--rather, we should strive for a participant-centric and hands-on model that uses a "guide on the side."
• Specific tools without context of a course and curriculum--rather, we should strive to build capacity for the tools and techniques implemented within the specific course or curriculum to facilitate pedagogically sound use.
• Providing stand-alone learning opportunities--rather, strive to situate individual PD opportunities as part of a larger development process including ongoing work and follow-up workshops.
The committee agrees that the following supports are necessary:
• Building and district leaders' universal vision
• Trainings, workshops and/or conferences
• School-organized activities
• Flexible PDC budget in each building
Summarizing Conclusion Statement
As educators, we must improve student learning, staff learning & instructional practices in the classroom in order to improve achievement outcomes for all. The most important factor among all professional development and pedagogical tools is our Derby Public Schools staff.