In order to shift practice, Excelsior Springs School District first needed to change its mindset about effective professional learning. This required close examination of traditional professional development and open conversation throughout the district. The District established a need for change, then developed a shared vision for 21st century professional learning. The following presentation was shared throughout the district.
Move Your District into the 21st Century
Questions districts must be asking…
How can we as a district support individual, building, and district goals with our limited time and
resources? Districts are increasingly challenged to meet the needs of each educator and keep up with emerging trends and initiatives.
How can we keep up in times of rapid change? The need for professional development is happening at a quicker rate than most districts can manage.
Are we putting the responsibility in the hands of the learner? Each professional should drive their own learning. Professional learning should not be defined by what someone else provides for them.
Are we fostering teachers to be critical thinkers, problem-solvers, good communicators, good
collaborators that are information and technology literate, flexible, adaptable, innovative, creative, and globally competent? Educators first must experience being a 21st century learners as a professional so they are prepared to give the same experience for their students.
Determine what professional learning should include...
Provide multiple paths - Professional learning should be differentiated so everyone receives the PD they need most and provide choice, in method and content. These multiple paths allow participants to own their learning causing increased engagement and built so everyone is a co-learner and an equal.
Be ongoing process - Professional learning should be ongoing, job-embedded, and a daily learning process. It shouldn't dependent on time or space and can happen anywhere, anytime.
Build leadership and empower - Professional learning should build internal capacity by tapping into the expertise of teachers causing growth in teacher leadership. It should empower teachers to design their own
Be visible and reflective - Making professional learning visible gives educators an authentic audience to
share their voice.
Model life-long learning, focused on outcomes - Educators must be the models of true life-long learning, demonstrating to others that learning is a daily priority. This learning should be focused on outcomes and
Get Started...Get Connected
Districts need to think outside the box in order to upgrade professional learning to support the 21st century skills. Educators must take an active role; they cannot sit back and wait for it to be delivered to them. It is time for educators to "GET CONNECTED."
Districts can start by creating internal collaborative groups that provide an environment for authentic dialogue with constant two-way, transparent conversations enabling collaboration among all participants. After educators are comfortable communicating and collaborating within the district, take it to the next level by expanding their professional learning network outside of the district. Help them find to like-minded professionals and groups to connect and collaborate with until they reach a global audience. Finally, encourage, recognize and validate educators for bringing their informal learning back to the district in order to impact student achievement in their classroom and others.
Post by Michelle Nebel | District Instructional Technology Coach
This will be a resource built by the staff for the staff to encourage integration of 21st century skills into every student's learning.