Professional Development - 2011-12

Faculty Meetings, Professional Development, and Professional Learning Communities

For the 2011-12 school year, the Windham Central Supervisory Union will focus professional development on literacy, specifically Fountas and Pinnell at the elementary level and University of Kansas-Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) at the secondary level. The WCSU administrative team has adopted a shared vision of literacy teaching and learning:

We believe that all students in our schools genuinely engage in meaningful literacy learning based on common standards. Teachers and students partner in active reading, writing, critical thinking, and argumentation of text, improving foundational skills based on grade-level benchmarks. Students demonstrate the ability to navigate, comprehend, synthesize, evaluate, and communicate understanding. Teachers support effective teaching and learning within a culture of collaboration and inquiry and within a clear structure of professional development.

As a result, the majority of in-service and faculty meeting time will be devoted to teaching WCSU faculty/staff research-proven tools to teach writing in every subject area.

During faculty meeting time, Professional Learning Community groups are scheduled to meet 1-2 times per month, for a total of 11 meetings throughout the year. These interdisciplinary groups develop a safe and confidential space to share classroom practices, specifically on teaching and assessing literacy based on the SIM strategies. According to the National School Reform Faculty, the goals of PLC groups and protocols are to:

    • Focus on improving students’ learning and success.
    • Build trust by engaging in significant work while providing a safe environment for taking risks.
    • Make their work public (e.g. "deprivatize" their work) by collaboratively examining work done by their students and by themselves (e.g. teaching practices, curriculum, school culture issues).
    • Give each other usable feedback.
    • Encourage diversity of thought, experience and perspective.
    • Draw on the expertise of those within the learning community, as well as on the expertise of "outside" resources.
    • Continuously challenge one another to adapt practice towards fostering educational and social equity.
    • Be accountable for continuous improvement toward helping every student to succeed in school.
    • Use, create, and support structures that lead to the above outcomes.

Faculty have been assigned a PLC group for 2011-12. Each group needs to identify a point person, who will earn 4-15 recertification hours, for the additional responsibilities. These include: confirming that a PLC group-member selects a protocol and presents to the group each time the PLC meets, and confirming a PLC-group member prepares to and carries out facilitation of that protocol.

In addition, faculty members are encouraged to arrange their own PLC activities within their department or among other colleagues outside the designated faculty meeting time. With people of their choosing, teachers can present dilemmas, units, lesson plans, and student work.

Those who miss a faculty or in-service meeting are responsible for learning from colleagues what had taken place in their absence. If a faculty/staff member misses a literacy training, please see our literacy coach, English teacher Linda Rood.

During the 2010-11 school year, Grade Level Academic Meetings (GLAM) allowed for every faculty member to meet in a team or department for a total of three days. The expense required for the WCSU professional development in literacy has reduced the amount of money available to GLAM groups. Interested faculty can still request GLAM meetings, whether for a half, full, or multiple days, by contacting their principal and proposing a topic and outcomes for the work.
In addition, the WCSU or L&G administration may suggest additional training for individual faculty members if in alignment with the school action-plan. Faculty members must submit a request form to the principal for permission to attend workshops, conferences, or courses. For course reimbursement information, please refer to the teachers’ contract.