Its easy to schedule a workshop and hire a presenter. Its far more difficult to have that workshop serve as a vital part of a long-term process of professional development. Long-term success depends on decisions made by administrators before the workshop occurs. Administrators that get results focus on process from the outset.
Here are some considerations that have proved to be critical during 40 years of collaboration with school districts across the country. They might help shape your thinking.
Effective professional development produces personal growth. Yet, personal growth can be challenging -- particularly when it involves changing old and familiar patterns of behavior. Personal growth requires continuing effort, and support over time. When beginning a program of professional growth, its helpful to view the process through the trainee's eyes.
To put it simply, training is the easy part of effective professional development, even though it takes more time than we have traditionally given it. The hard part of professional development is follow-through. Follow-through requires organizational change to support personal change.
The principal is the key decision maker for training and follow-through at the school site. Tactical decisions that are made before training begins often determine its ultimate success or failure. Here are some key tactical decisions:
The process of growth and change can seem daunting to an administrator whose time is already overcommitted. You need some help.
Tools for Teaching is more than a plan for classroom management. Its also a plan for school site and district implementation. The resources needed to make it happen are ready to go.
This plan is laid out in the Study Group Activity Guide a free download from our Web site, http://www.fredjones.com. The Activity Guide structures the organization of Professional Learning Communities at each school site, and provides a coaching process for skill mastery and problem solving that can stay vital for years with a minimum of administrative input.