If you’re like most educators, you don’t have the time to waste on unproductive faculty meetings. That’s why administrators and teacher leaders should transform faculty meetings into engaging professional development (PD) opportunities. We did that in my school and increased faculty attendance by 10 percent on faculty meeting days! You can find out more about how we did this here.

Want to take it even further with engaging, interactive professional learning community (PLC)-style faculty meetings? You can elevate the motivation and learning to heights that seem unreachable. But they are reachable. How? Edcamp-style faculty meetings!

An edcamp is a participant-driven conference, commonly referred to as an “unconference,” for K-12 educators. Edcamps are typically free and built around community participation and organization. If you’re interested in empowering your faculty with the same motivation and learning that transcends to student achievement, you’ll want to replicate how we turned our faculty meetings into mini edcamps. Here are the steps that any school can follow.

1. Designate an organizer.
Anyone can be the organizer: a principal, supervisor, teacher leader, or even a respected informal leader in your school. Basically, you need someone with faculty-wide influence.

2. Create a topic list.
Survey your faculty on the topics they are interested in learning about. You can do this using Google Forms or informally, especially if you have direct access to faculty suggestions.

Learn how to turn your faculty meetings into mini-#edcamps. #edtech #edchat

Next, build a list of topic ideas. You’ll want enough choices to allow your faculty to select from a menu. If something faculty wanted doesn’t make the list, you can do another edcamp later in the school year. For instance, our school community expressed interest in five different topics.

In a one-hour faculty meeting, you could do two 25-minute sessions or have three 20-minute sessions. I recommend a little space between sessions to allow faculty to transition. We first tried this on a 90-minute PD day, so faculty got to attend three 25-minute sessions.

About the Author:

Dr. Michael Gaskell has been principal of Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick, N.J. since 2006, following experience as a special educator and assistant principal in Paramus, NJ. Gaskell achieved his doctorate in educational leadership in 2014 and continues to model the pursuit of lifelong learning as he serves as a mentor to new principals in other schools through the NJEA Leaders to Leaders program. In his work as a principal, he works tirelessly to support instructional excellence, his faculty, the district, and, most important, the children as benefactors of idea sharing.