Professional Development

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Why Professional Development?

A thriving learning community focuses on improving learning for all of its youth and adult members. In order for staff members to create powerful learning experiences for children, they need to be engaged in the same. The River Trails District professional development plan includes a system which promotes continuous inquiry and improvement embedded in the daily life of schools and which focuses on individual, collegial, and organizational improvement. The professional development strategies for improving learning and teaching with best practices are a part of numerous district and school-based strategic plans and curriculum initiatives.

What Is Effective Professional Development?

Professional development is effective when it demonstrates an impact on the ultimate goal, improving student achievement. It must support quality teaching, learning and leadership by helping staff build knowledge, refine skills, apply new learning, ask for and accept feedback, and receive support from a mentor or coach.

Effective professional development must be perceived as essential for achieving the school improvement goals, valued as an integral part of the school improvement plan, viewed as a key factor in changing behavior and deemed critical in the district’s quest for excellence in teaching and learning. To that end staff development has become job-embedded, results driven, and standards-based. Research demonstrates that traditional professional development activities such as one time workshops and presentations are sound practice for creating awareness, however, they do not effectively impact deep understanding, skill attainment, or application of the concepts in the classroom. Effective staff development is purposeful, engaging, interactive, aligned to professional goals, and ignites the power of learning. Learning must be ongoing with sessions that consist of short presentations of new knowledge and skills, followed by application with rich dialogue among team members and finally reflection.

The use of professional development time:

  • Is embedded into the school day
  • Provides staff with what they need
  • Supports staff throughout the process
  • Connects teacher learning with student learning

Outcome of staff development focus on:

  • Increased staff knowledge
  • Increased collaboration and sharing
  • Increased student achievement
  • Increased positive student/teacher relationships
Mrs. Kristine Seifert - 224-612-7303