Yesterday, I met with the district professional development committee, a committee that meets annually to discuss the plan that has to be submitted to our county and state for approval. That statement, in and of itself, is inherently backwards, but I’ll get to that. This year, the design of professional development is much more formalized in that each school must have its own individual plan, the ideas of which must find their way into the overall district plan. Previously, the district plan was all most districts had, and all that was counted in the end.
Not so anymore, and I am hopefully optimistic about this.
See, I am a big believer in having a stake in the direction of your place of employment. If you work somewhere, your voice should matter in the governance of that place, and your actions should be allowed to contribute to the betterment of that organization. I don’t see that much in the schools I either work in, or visit, but I’d like to. What I see and hear is a lot of the mentality whereby there is little control of the direction of schools and school philosophy by teachers and administrators–things being “done” to them, rather than them “doing” things to contribute to the greater cause of student achievement.
I plan on changing that.
Committees are funny things; they have life for the short time they are together, and high ideas are exchanged if the right people are in the room. For example, we were critiquing our professional development programs from the previous years, and we came up with this list:
- lack of follow through or follow-up from the initial class or by the presenter
- not tied directly to student achievement
- notification and publication of classes and sessions to staff
But what next? We sketched out our direction for next year after synthesizing the individual building goals and definitions of student learning, but how is the plan going to be communicated to the staff? How are they going to look at this plan and see anything that gives them ownership, or reverses that feeling that they are disconnected from the definitions and realities of their building philosophy?
“What are you afraid of?” I asked myself after listening yesterday. I also followed that one up with a “what are you waiting for?” This is a great opportunity for someone to take this place in a new direction. Why not me?