Theory of Professional Development
It is important to grow leaders within a campus. In order to do this, professional development must be targeted, talent must be sought after, and an infrastructure that encourages leadership attributes must be established. When teachers set their goals and are later evaluated, the administrator should have a discussion about targeted professional development. If they need to strengthen classroom management, differentiation, or even technology, then arrangements should be made to offer that teacher meaningful growth opportunities. Sending teachers to conferences and having them present their findings is an effective way to build instructional leaders. Participating in Marzano’s High Reliability Schools Leadership Team instead of the Art and Science of Teaching (ASOT) group would instill traits that are desirable when managing people. Finding the talents of staff members, developing those talents, and asking them to share their wisdom is one of the strongest motivating factors to initiate a collaborative team with passion for the vision and mission (Desravines, et al., 2016). This tactic can encompass all cultures on campus. If a teacher is digitally savvy, send them to become certified in an area of expertise related to that. That teacher can, for example, become a Google Trainer for the district, train the other staff members on how to use digital technology, and then software can be used to administer faculty meetings, efficiently collect data, and provide digital tools to improve instruction. If a teacher is researching differentiation of special education students, should not the other employees be informed in those processes? Having instructional leaders present material such as adverse childhood experiences, poverty, cultural awareness, and self-care with a collaborative approach can create leaders while building culturally sensitive staff members. If employees are allowed to explore their interests and are supported by administration, much learning and progress will be made.
Setting goals for continuous improvement is essential when devising a plan of action regarding supervision, observation, and evaluation. One way to ensure that proper goals are being set is to use the T-TESS Rubric at the beginning of the year as a self-evaluation tool. Once teachers have rated themselves using the rubric, goals can be formulated based on areas that each teacher believes they need to strengthen (Marshall, 2013). Support will be provided to ensure that all goals are specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART). Once the initial goal is set, measures will be taken to provide professional development opportunities through the education service center or other reputable entity that will engage the teacher in meaningful growth and progress in the targeted area. Staff will participate in instructional rounds throughout the year to provide peer feedback on the identified goal. Posting the goal outside of the classroom door with a QR code that leads to a questionnaire designed to solicit feedback would be beneficial to the employee. Insights from peers and students can often be valuable when improving classroom instruction. Walkthroughs from the principal would also need to take place, using a rubric specifically designed for the goal, as well as a formal evaluation using the T-TESS system. It is important to convey to all employees that the system is meant to be a growth tool and that the bar is not set high, but rather the bar does not exist. Establishing an Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) is powerful when evaluating and observing because they can share duties, encourage buy-in for initiatives, and provide feedback on targeted goals (Desravines, et al., 2016). When monitoring and assessing classroom instruction is taking place, it is wise to use objective rubrics with specific measures. For instance, if a new math initiative is being implemented, a rubric should be created to identify all intricacies of the program. If a teacher is lacking in an area, it should be narrowed down and easy to modify. In other words, all actionable feedback should be delivered in manageable, digestible chunks. Sometimes, actionable feedback can be given as a blanket statement to many employees. This would happen if the principal is on a walkthrough and notices that the majority of the teachers are struggling with transitioning properly with minimal teaching time wasted. In this case, a job-embedded professional development (perhaps led by an ILT member with expertise in transitions) would be beneficial (Desravines, et al., 2016). During Professional Learning Community meetings, combing through data received through formal/informal assessments can lead to data-driven instruction that leads to improvement. This data can also be used as a means to evaluate certain aspects of targeted T-TESS goals. Instructional expectations can be found in district policy. These should be reviewed at the beginning of each year and referred throughout in order to reinforce pertinent information. For instance, teachers should have the objective displayed somewhere in the room where all eyes can view it easily and that objective should be what the lesson is about that day. If the objective is not being taught and the activities for the day do not address it, then the teacher should be informed and corrected through actionable feedback. It is important to remember that regardless of the goal chosen, the evaluation process is an improvement cycle that should constantly benefit the employee by helping them become better each day at their craft.
This system has been scientifically proven to work with transformational leaders to breed success. It is imperitive that collaboration be the center of a successful campus. When everyone has a role and feels as if they are an important contributor in the process, they will work as a fine-tuned system. An analogy that comes to mind would be a sports car. A Corvette is beautiful, with smooth lines and aerodynamic features. It has an engine that operates with oil, fuel, compressors, belts, fans, and many other components. When they all play their important role, the Corvette runs like a dream. However, if any of those parts become defective, no other part can run effectively. This is how a campus should run! Every person must use their talent to contribute to the vision and mission. No part is less important than the other, and we should always be adding “after stock” improvements to drive us forward. Being proactive in implementing procedure is an important aspect of managing a campus, but being proactive in implementing a collaborative and supportive staff is paramount.
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