The author highlights the successful staff development plans of five school districts or schools:
1. Alief Independent School District (AISD), Texas. AISD features a flexible professional development program to address its staff’s various positions and levels of technological expertise. The program is tailored to meet the needs of everyone in the district, from administrators and paraprofessionals to new teachers, experienced technology teachers, and grade-level teachers. Another key aspect of AISD’s professional development program is an emphasis on project-based learning, which is best seen during a summer program called, “Camp Explore It All.” The camp allows teachers to test ideas in a non-threatening environment and to work out any kinks before taking their projects to the classroom.
2. Kuna School District (KSD), Idaho. KSD ties its professional development directly to student achievement, with technology being a key to reaching better student performance. Staff development at the district level spans from the advancedsuch as the master’s level courses taught on site by Boise State University facultyto the basic, like training for a new software application. One stand-out element of the KSD’s staff development program is its “Technology Committee,” a 20-member panel consisting of one teacher at each grade level and departments, and two parents. The committee is responsible for handling training requests, with members serving as mentors for other personnel.
3. Key Largo School, Florida. Key Largo attributes its nationally acclaimed technology program to its commitment to a broad staff training plan from the outset. A key to the school’s staff development plan is its partnership with Florida Keys Community College, which offers courses to Key Largo on-site. The school also credits its success to the initiation of two new formal positions, technology resource teacher and technician, who support teachers in a number of ways. There is also the more informal position of technology resource peer, held by teachers who show an interest in helping other teachers.
4. Anderson County Schools (ACS), Tennessee. ACS has made staff development a priority tied to overall school reform. Programs are offered before, after, and during school hours, as well as on dedicated staff development days and over the summer. Most training is done on-site at a dedicated training center staffed by a full-time staff development coordinator. The district has logged 43,000 hours of technology training over the last five years, with half of that being voluntary.
5. Bristol Warren Regional School District, Rhode Island. Bristol Warren has focused its professional development efforts on offering teachers the training they need when they need it and where they need it. The district also provides training and support through eMail, listservs, and district web pages. In addition to its own efforts, the district has also benefited from the Rhode Island Foundation Teachers in Technology Initiative, a statewide program that will have trained over 80 Bristol Warren teachers by the end of next summer.