Overview of the 3-year Blended Learning & Coaching Plan
High quality professional learning is a strength of the Killeen Independent School District. As the District Instructional Technologist for elementary, I propose to enact an innovative, comprehensive, alternative instructional technology professional learning plan that will continue that solid tradition of providing high-quality professional learning opportunities for teachers, but also enhance it.
My hope is that this alternative learning plan will be the steps we need to take in the right direction toward building a digital learning ecosystem. With the skills they build for themselves and their colleagues, teachers will be able to masterfully integrate technology and blended learning strategies when the situation calls for it.
In order to be successful, the plan must follow the suggestions of Allison Gulamhussein’s 5 Principles of Effective Professional Development. This 3 year plan includes all 5 Principles.
- The duration of professional learning must be significant and ongoing to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy and grapple with the implementation problem. This plan will take place across 3 years. Teachers will have multiple opportunities to develop their skills.
- There must be support for a teacher during the implementation stage that addresses the specific challenges of changing classroom practice. At each stage of the professional learning plan, teachers will have the support of presenters, colleagues, and administrators.
- Teachers’ initial exposure to a concept should not be passive, but rather should engage teachers through varied approaches so they can participate actively in making sense of a new practice. At each step of the learning, teachers will have the opportunity to experience new teaching strategies as a learner. Then they will take those strategies to their classroom, implement and share results.
- Modeling has been found to be highly effective in helping teachers understand a new practice. Teachers will experience modeling in Year 1 by observing the Blended Learning Cohort trainer and in Years 2 & 3 by observing their colleagues in the cohort.
- The content presented to teachers shouldn’t be generic, but instead specific to the discipline (for middle school and high school teachers) or grade-level (for elementary school teachers). Participants eligible for this cohort are 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers or campus support staff. Whenever possible, they will be grouped in sessions grade-level or role.
According to 2009 the Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development, effective professional development results in advanced teaching practice as well as improved student learning outcomes. The report also suggest that we consider teachers as lifelong learners and consider professional development to be more about the teacher learning.
The learning opportunities provided to teachers throughout this plan will be varied enough to meet the needs of teachers of grades 3, 4 and 5 and campus admin support staff. Also, teachers and staff will have multiple opportunities throughout the year to apply these strategies in their own classroom.
Collaboration and coaching in the area of professional learning are essential. By including campus administrative staff in the learning session with teachers, I hope to develop further the collaboration possibilities. As curriculum specialists, librarian, campus techs and principals learn with the teachers, they may also work together to share that learning with other staff members in the school. The goal is to exemplify the Innovation that Sticks Case Study, in which one leader described their successful professional learning model, with school leaders learning side-by-side with the teachers, fully involved.
Another element of collaboration is that teachers will be able to visit each other’s classroom to observe the implementation of strategies learned throughout the three years of the plan. The goal is for teachers to develop those observation skills into coaching skills by the third year.
Hopefully, by the end of year three, we will have 60 solidly trained, confident elementary educators equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to transform their classrooms and schools. These educators will be able to blaze the trail by coaching their colleagues and supporting students in their digital learning ecosystem.
Below are the beginnings of my Backward Design Plan as well as the Significant Learning Outcomes Plan with a 3-column Table. These are still being fully developed for the final evaluation.
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Gulamhussein, A. (2013, September) Teaching_Effective_Professional_Developmt.pdf. Dropbox. https://www.dropbox.com/s/j13c5mk092kmqv9/Teaching_Effective_Professional_Developmt.pdf?dl=0
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