The following list of suggested strategies are rules that we followed that I believe can help you deliver the kind of useful and meaningful PD to your teachers that they need and deserve.
- Develop a 3-5 year plan. Before you do anything else, you need to know what your PD and growth-related goals are, for the short and medium range. Too often, principals live in the moment and make decisions on what feels right. Worse, they may feel obligated to offer “something” simply because it’s on the calendar. The risks in doing so, however, is that you can fail to deliver what is really needed. By developing a 3-5 year plan of the PD areas that you would like to focus on for your staff, you can approach the topic strategically and start to figure out such important areas as topics, schedule, budget and more. You can also loop back from time to time to reinforce and deepen previous learning, especially now that there’s been meaningful opportunity for them to practice.
- Revisit the plan annually (if not sooner). We all know how quickly the winds could blow in the field of education. Yesterday’s “hot” topic can easily be replaced by tomorrow’s latest and greatest. By revisiting your list often, you can start current and see how such changes may or may not impact your thinking.
- State and repeat: “One size fits none.” As with classroom instruction, PD also needs to be differentiated. We cannot expect our middle-school language teachers and our primary-grade teachers to benefit equally from the same presentation. Yes, some topics are generic and can be presented to an entire staff. However, there needs to be various examples for different sub-segments of the population to relate to. More about this later.