Fairfax County, VA, May 1, 2007 — Districts spend untold hours researching what works in student learning. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) plan to shorten their time in understanding the impact professional development has on student learning by creating, in partnership with TrueNorthLogic, My PLT (My Professional Learning and Training). My PLT will provide the tools to help FCPS gather evidence about what professional learning opportunities are best meeting the needs of educators – what instructional changes are taking place and ultimately, what effect those changes have on student achievement.
Last year FCPS created a new department of professional learning and training. To coordinate the staff development efforts in the 13th largest district in the United States, the web-based system is critical to eliminate redundancies that naturally occur when similar efforts are taking place in different offices and hundreds of sites. The system will encompass all of Fairfax´s 21,000 employees, offering services to all administrators, teachers and support/classified staff.
"Having one system that handles all functions of professional learning makes it easier for our employees to search and register for professional learning opportunities. And, once implemented we will have easier access to reports regarding all professional development initiatives, the ability to ensure responsible fiscal management of training dollars, and the impact those initiatives are having on student learning," said Dr. Terri Breeden, assistant superintendent for professional learning and training for Fairfax County Public Schools.
My PLT is being created in partnership with TrueNorthLogic, a company that specializes in creating Web-based platforms by which professional development can be delivered and managed.
"TrueNorthLogic provides districts and states with the only online tool to combine online assessment, alignment and reporting functions that work with any training program." Said TrueNorthLogic CEO, Dan Cookson. "We expect Fairfax to be able to garner important evidence on the impact of their professional development and the district´s ability to sustain continuous improvement in its staff. We feel honored to be a part of that."
According to Scott Simmons, project manager for My PLT for the district, "the vast number of courses we offer, from traditional face-to-face workshops to online courses and other learning opportunities, all will be easily accessible to all 21,000 employees via the My PLT professional portal. With the system, we will be able to determine which courses are working, as well as which courses need to be retired due to either lack of interest or pertinence to today´s classroom environment. From technical skills to instructional methodologies to leadership, by having access to a plethora of reports on what FCPS offers today and how it is being used, we can better shape outstanding professional development for tomorrow and ensure a return on our investment in quality teachers. We believe this will help support teacher retention and the professional growth of our administrators. In years to come, we anticipate even greater gains in student achievement and district efficiency."
My PLT will include a robust mentoring system to support the district´s Teacher Induction Program designed to boost teacher retention. The mentoring tools will enable new teachers to more easily engage in ongoing dialogues with an assigned, experienced educator. Also, mentoring logs, which show the frequency and types of support the mentors provide, can give the district a detailed picture of the types of issues that require the most support for new teachers to be successful.
TrueNorthLogic (TNL) is the leading K-12 education provider of web-based professional development management solutions that measure performance and lead to continuous improvement. Our deep understanding of K-12 workforce management requirements comes from our experience developing and implementing statewide K-12 solutions for California, Arizona, Indiana, and Utah–as well as from our experience developing and implementing solutions for high-profile school districts including Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland and Minneapolis Public Schools in Minnesota. With more than one million licensed users, TNL has a proven track record helping organizations achieve educational workforce excellence.