When planning PD events, districts should always consider using volunteers when appropriate. Our breakout sessions were led by our own teacher volunteers. We survey teachers early in the year to see what they might feel comfortable sharing with peers. We also give them the option of co-presenting with colleagues which motivates more of them to volunteer.
The district’s tech rollout is staggered over multiple years so not everyone attending Level Up LPS has access to the new technology and equipment yet. So as an added incentive to get more volunteer presenters, we give some teachers the opportunity to pilot certain types of technology. In return, we ask them to present a session on that technology during Level Up LPS.
For each Level Up LPS event, we ask volunteers, including students from the high school, to staff the event in order to direct people to different sessions. We also have student groups come in to sell water and snacks. And we have our vendor, Epson, provide representatives at no cost to the district to walk our staff members through some of the more technical aspects of the Epson presentation displays.
Splurge When Needed
It can be a challenge to run a tech PD program that is cost-effective, without it seeming cheap. I suggest picking one thing to splurge on that will help your participants–and the volunteers who are providing the training–feel like they received extra value from the training. Impress them a little.
One place where we decided we to splurge was on our keynote speakers. The keynote speaker sets the tone for the entire event. We want this training to be a high-quality, professional event. We have great content, but in order to complete the package and have our staff walk away with the feeling that they’d just gotten a truly world-class experience, we felt we needed to pay attention to the keynote speaker. And that meant paying to bring in some good ones.
By finding efficiencies elsewhere as described earlier, we were able to include funding for high-quality, high-demand keynote speakers which improved the staff members’ experience, and elevated the event’s reputation.
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