Iowa Professional Development Model
Focus on Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
A clear focus on instruction is essential. Deliberate alignment of instruction, curriculum, and assessment increases the likelihood that professional development efforts will be effective. If the goal is increased student achievement, use the most powerful tools over which the school has control.
Participative Decision Making
Collective action requires a democratic process. Teachers are engaged in decision making and planning for professional development that is aligned with identified student needs. Communication and governance processes are in place to increase the likelihood that decisions made about staff development are binding. When professional development decisions affect a group (rather than an individual), group members must participate in those decisions.
Strong leaders are essential for successful professional development efforts. Leaders facilitate the engagement of all faculty members responsible for instruction, address time and resource issues and balance both the pressure and support required to sustain professional development efforts as a priority. For leadership to be pervasive and intense enough to make things happen at the district, building, and classroom levels, it must be distributed through the organization - involving the school board, central office administration, building-level administration, and teachers. Collective professional development aimed at student learning goals requires focused leadership.
Schools and districts often have to attend to multiple concerns simultaneously. Professional development efforts balance the resources directed toward and the efforts invested in content, context and processes. To accomplish student achievement gains, focusing on new content is the priority but simultaneously issues of context and process may also need to be addressed. Select a priority in which to invest professional development time and resources and then seek ways to integrate other concerns without losing focus on the major initiative. If multiple initiatives receive equal effort, the probability of succeeding with any of them is reduced.
For more information, contact:
Deb Hansen, Professional Development Consultant for Teacher Quality
Iowa Department of Education, Grimes State Office Building
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
Iowa Department of Education
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