Professional Development

Connecting High Quality Professional Development and Educator Evaluation

Lessons from Massachusetts Districts: Presentation at 2014 Educator Evaluation Convening

FAQs: Elaborating on the Work Done in Chelmsford Public Schools and Southeastern Regional Vocational School District

Answers to the FAQs were based on interviews with the district professional development leaders from Chelmsford Public Schools and Southeastern Regional Vocational School District.

How do you use the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development in your district?

Chelmsford Public School district leaders are implementing the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development by:

  • Building the high quality professional development (HQPD) standards into an annual survey of teachers and principals and rewording the 10 standards as questions as a way to monitor the quality of professional development that educators receive.
  • Building selected standards into post-session surveys to get immediate feedback on the quality of the professional development.
  • Embedding two of the standards in the professional development proposal requirements that would qualify for PDPs (professional development points) for teacher recertification. View a sample proposal form developed by Chelmsford Public Schools.
  • Reviewing the standards informally during professional development selection and planning.

Kristan Rodriquez, former Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for Chelmsford Public Schools: "These HQPD standards aren't that difficult to implement. You just need to have a group of teachers and administrators working together to see what we already do and what we need to work on."

Southeastern Regional Vocational School District leaders are implementing the Massachusetts Standards for Professional Development by:

  • Reviewing the standards when selecting or deselecting outside vendors.
  • Reviewing the standards informally at the district-level as a check on the quality of the professional development.

Heidi Driscoll, Curriculum Director for Southeastern Regional Vocational School District: "If you are a school that wants to make sure you don't waste time and that your PD days are impactful for teachers, these HQPD Standards are a nice check. For us, it was almost like a reassurance that we're doing the right thing for teachers."

How do you connect educator evaluation with professional development in your district?

Chelmsford Public School leaders connect high-quality professional development to educator evaluation by:

  • Using patterns among teachers'. SMART goals to select or design district-sponsored professional development offerings.
  • Connecting teachers to available professional development opportunities based on their SMART goals.
  • Encouraging teachers to develop group-based SMART goals so that they can engage in collaborative professional development learning opportunities.
  • Using educator evaluation to identify exemplary teachers and give them opportunities to provide professional development in their areas of strength to their colleagues.

Kristan Rodriguez: "The goal is not to implement educator evaluation or implement the [Massachusetts Professional Development] Standards. The goal is to be the best instructors and ensure our students have the most success, and these are just tools to get us there."

Southeastern Regional Vocational School District leaders connect high-quality professional development to educator evaluation by:

  • Using a locally developed online platform where administrators can enter educator evaluation data and evidence, and teachers can enter their SMART goals by using a "SMART Goal Assistant" that walks teachers through the development process. Teachers can also record evidence into the platform of the professional development they take to reach their goals. District leaders can run reports to look at the trends of professional needs across the district to select or design profession development.
  • Connecting teachers to available professional development opportunities based on their SMART goals.
  • Using educator evaluation to identify exemplary teachers and to give them opportunities to provide professional development in their areas of strength to their colleagues.

Heidi Driscoll: "We don't want unsung heroes anymore; we want them to be leaders in the district."

What factors enable your school's success in making these connections?

Chelmsford Public School leaders reported that the following factors help ensure a coherent system of educator learning and development in their district:

  • Teachers and leaders work together to define, support, and evaluate professional development.
  • A professional development coordinator, who also is the curriculum coordinator, ensures coherence and makes sure that teachers have the support to input the curriculum that they are asked to implement.
  • There is a focus on building capacity among staff within the district to provide professional development.
  • There are online tools that both teachers and administrators can use to manage professional development and evaluation data.
  • The district offers options for all staff in their respective roles, gives teachers leadership roles in delivering professional development, and offers multiple formats for professional development (e.g., online, hybrid, in-person, graduate courses, ten-hour series, and Twitter Professional Learning Networks).

Southeastern Regional Vocational School District leaders reported that the following factors help ensure a coherent system of educator learning and development in their district:

  • There is a dedicated professional development liaison to work with both teachers and administrators in a nonevaluative capacity.
  • Teachers are involved in the design and selection of professional development.
  • There is a close partnership with a local university that provides professional development as needs arise.

How is your Professional Development Committee structured and what does it do?

In Chelmsford Public Schools:

  • The co-leaders of the Professional Development Committee include the district academic officer charged with coordinating professional development and a teacher selected by other teachers.
  • The committee meets regularly and more frequently when professional development proposals are reviewed.
  • The committee members are not paid stipends but do receive PDPs.

In Southeastern Regional Vocational School District:

  • The Professional Development Committee is comprised of 10 members, including academic leaders and vocational teachers.
  • The committee is voluntary.
  • The committee meets four to five times per year for 60- to 90-minute sessions after school.
  • The committee helps district leaders coordinate, schedule, share ideas, discuss professional development quality, and so on.
  • The professional development liaison collaboratively sets the agenda of each meeting with input from teachers and district administrators.

Which data system(s) do you use to manage professional development data?

Chelmsford Public Schools:

  • Uses TeachPoint, a teacher evaluation system that houses evaluation data.
  • Uses X2 database, in which the student information system also tracks the professional development of the teachers.

Southeastern Regional Vocational School District:

  • Uses the MassEvals, a locally developed on-line platform, which houses evaluation data and teachers' SMART goals.
  • Uses the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Educator Licensure and Recruitment portal, where educators track their professional development points for recertification.

How much dedicated time do teachers have to engage in high-quality professional development?<

Chelmsford Public Schools:

  • Teachers have one full day of professional development per year, plus seven early-release days scheduled for professional development for Grade K–4 teachers and six early-release days for Grade 5–12 teachers.
  • All teachers have at least one preparation period every day.

Southeastern Regional Vocational School District:

  • Teachers have two full days of professional development per year, plus five early-release days.
  • Academic and vocational teachers have a 45-minute administrative period each day, which can be used for professional learning communities or other professional development.

What funding streams support professional development in your district?

In both the Chelmsford Public Schools and Southeastern Regional Vocational School District:

  • All Title II Part A funds are directed toward professional development activities rather than reserving some for class-size reduction.
  • Funds for professional development are often included as part of other federal- and state-funded programs (such as Race to the Top, Title I). There are dedicated district lines for professional development

Last Updated: May 7, 2015

 
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