3 ways small districts can go big on PD

As a leader in a district in Indianapolis with nine schools and limited resources, I’m well aware of the fact that most districts don’t have the time or money to devote to one-off workshops and training sessions that may or may not improve instruction. An effective, efficient professional development (PD) initiative has a few key components: It must be grounded in a culture of student achievement, it needs to be systematized, and it needs to be based in student need.

In the past, each of our schools handled PD differently. There was no unified system. However, over the past year, we have developed an approach that allows us to run an affordable and sustainable PD program aimed at systematically identifying and addressing student needs through instructional leadership and personalized teacher coaching. The system has three parts, each of which works together to help schools improve instruction in order to ultimately drive student achievement.

1. Form instructional leadership teams that focus on strategy and action.
Our instructional leadership teams (ILTs) are highly structured school-based teams that drive each school’s most important school improvement initiatives. They are made up of lead teachers and mentor teachers. We believe we couldn’t do the work of improvement well without teachers at the table.…Read More