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Staff Development Models
by Barbara Bray
From the Staff Development
CUE Newsletter November/December 2000
doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Staff development comes in
many forms, but what works is when a team of people really believe in
making something work and fight for it. If you are part of the curriculum
or technology team at your school or district, you probably find yourself
in the role of advocate for quality staff development. Every situation
is different, but through this column, I thought it would be helpful
for you to read about different models that exemplify high quality staff
development. Each of the following contributors are happy to share with
you what has been working for them.
Jeff Foote (email@example.com)
science teacher at Kermit Mckenzie Jr. High, Guadalupe, California,
co-director of the Central Coast Science Project, Youth Technology Corps
Coordinator, and Environmental Education Program Director for the Dunes
Center shared that "partnerships and organizations outside of schools
and districts often help us think beyond the boundaries of the classroom."
In Guadalupe, a variety of projects came up with similar ideas of staff
development and community-based learning that brings together different
generations, school, and family. The Guadalupe Dunes Education Center,
Central Coast Science Project (CCSP), the RAIN Network, and the Guadalupe
Union School District are sharing ideas, funds, and people to build
community learning resources. The work ranges from student "jr. docents"
leading home-bound seniors on nature walks in the dune lakes to a Youth
Technology Corps mapping the community landmarks into a sophisticated
GIS. The 5th-8th grade students will be assisted by high school mentors
and parents. The CCSP out of Cal Poly has integrated three different
professional development initiatives-Science Leadership, Technology,
and English Language Development in Content areas- and will use the
school garden-based learning programs to extend teacher learning out
into the Dunes Center environmental education programs. (http://www.sbceo.k12.ca.us/~kmguad)
Job-Embedded Staff Development
Steve Kay (firstname.lastname@example.org),
principal of Scott Lane Elementary School in Santa Clara, California,
provides a job-embedded approach with all teachers on staff. For the
past 3 years, the literacy coordinator worked as a "just in time" staff
developer in the 1000 Days to Success program (K-2 students 'learn to
read' and 3-5 students 'read to learn'). "We found nothing as powerful
in facilitating change in instructional practice as 'job embedded learning'
with a 'just in time' coach/mentor." This year, two technology-using
teachers with curriculum expertise are sharing a classroom position
half of the time. Both of these teachers receive an additional 30% time
that is devoted to technology and curriculum on-site support for the
teachers. With around thirty certificated staff, this means that a classroom
teacher may have just-in-time support for technology and/or curriculum
issues right when they need it.
is the ultimate job-embedded staff development model."
The Core Values program at
Oakland Unified School District, mentioned in the September CUE newsletter,
has a successful coaching model in place. Technology and curriculum
coaches work with 5th through 8th grade teachers in their classrooms
assisting them with the design and implementation of student projects
for the Virtual Museum (http://tlc.ousd.k12.ca.us/cv/projects/index.html).
The next step was to provide on-line ongoing support. At a summer institute
2000 on Electronic Collaboration, teachers developed classroom-to-classroom,
teacher-to-teacher, and e-pal projects (http://tlc.ousd.k12.ca.us/cv/calendar/agenda_vm_august.html).
On May 23rd, 2001, the teachers and students participated in a showcase
Final 2 week institute invited teachers that demonstrated an interest
in creating web-based projects and collaborating with a colleague (http://tlc.ousd.k12.ca.us/cv/calendar/agenda_leadership.html).
They received coaching and resources to support another teacher at their
Coaching is the ultimate
job-embedded staff development model. Joni Turville (email@example.com)
and Barb Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org).
of Ronald Harvey Elementary school in St. Albert, Alberta Canada, a
suburb of Edmonton, are the creators of a school-based mentoring program.
The staff determines their own interests and needs in using technology
and then plans for regular professional development activities in their
own school, provided by their own teachers who have expertise in different
areas. Each day one of the school-based mentors has one period to work
with a teacher and his/her class to discuss the kinds of themes being
explored and how technology might be used to enhance their studies.
The mentor teaches lessons ranging from multimedia production to web
page creation as the teacher works along with the students to learn
the necessary technology skills within their own curriculum. This collaborative
model has allowed the staff to increase their skill level and confidence
very quickly and has allowed some very powerful project-based learning
to occur. This mentoring project was recently awarded a Network of Innovative
Schools award from Industry Canada. Their school also has several award-winning
online projects such as the VIPER Club--an Internet reading project.
Using Standards to Drive
Jan Pearson, (email@example.com)
third grade teacher at Oakley Elementary in Oakley, California and Teacher
of the Year in Oakley Union Elementary Schools shared how through effective
grade-level team planning and using standards and benchmarks to drive
the curriculum increased third grade students' math scores.
The five third grade teachers
looked at STAR test results in math and found many areas below grade
level. Then they looked at the standards and benchmarks that they needed
to reach and at the timeline to address the benchmarks before the test.
What they found was that many of the lesser strands were not taught
until the end of year so students did not have familiarity with geometry,
algrebra, probablility, logic, and measurement at the test date. They
also found that teaching multiplication in midyear was not effective.
They came up with two new strategies to teach math: (1) begin the year
with multiplication and (2) have each teacher focus on one of the strands
as an expert. Each of five teachers teaches one of those strands Ð students
from each class visit all of the teachers through a rotation schedule
on Fridays. Each teacher, as an expert in their area, plans a series
of six lessons, but teaches only her strand five times. In just one
year, math scores increased from the 40th percentile to the 63rd percentile.
teacher, as an expert in their area, plans a series of six lessons,
but teaches only her strand five times."
Planning and working as
a team to target areas that need work is an approach all of us need
to look at. Using this model along with choosing an area of the curriculum
that lends itself to smaller areas of interest could well be a wise
approach to staff development. None of this could have happened without
sufficient time to plan and collaborate. The teachers were not too sure
about starting with standards, but now it is paying off. They plan to
look at other curriculum areas and integrating technology to tackle
Scott Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
shared successful summer technology festivals at Fresno Pacific University.
The term "festival" conveys a more playful tone during the event where
participants assume the role of students and play out their own WebQuest.
Rather than putting them in the role of a curriculum inventor, they
taste what an exemplary standards-based technology-rich unit looks and
feels like. They experience the pedagogy involved in such a lesson and
explore the foundations behind these teaching strategies. At the close
of the festival, many teachers have commented that they "get it." In
the end, they have found that the teachers are more likely to adapt
this unit in their own fall classroom because, from experience, they
believe it will work. Feel free to explore the themed festivals titled
"Spin It!" and "Go for the Gold" (http://gradmath.fresno.edu/festival/)
the close of the festival, many teachers have commented that
they 'get it!' "
Cheryl Vitali, (email@example.com)
District Technology Mentor and Special Education teacher at Alta Elementary
in Reedley, California explained why her staff development program is
more like a flying formation of geese than a stampede of buffalo. A
Fall CUE session by Sara Armstrong called Weaving the Goosenet had a
profound influence on Cheryl who identified with the technology leader
who blazed the way like a buffalo. Yet buffalo blindly follow a leader,
will easily stampede, and even jump to their death if improperly led.
Geese, on the other hand, utilize teamwork, and will spell each other
and take turns in leading the flock on their annual migration. Older
wiser birds help train a younger strong one so they work together. Cheryl's
job as district mentor led to a major drive to help build the framework
for growth that was a team effort Yet, leadership opportunities for
different team members came and went where she was hoping they would
be transformed into this elusive breed of teachers or gooselos. Watching
her efforts work for some and not work for others was difficult. What
that meant was letting go, pulling back in the formation, and letting
others take the lead.
on the other hand, utilize teamwork, and will spell each other
and take turns in leading the flock on their annual migration."
The fruits of her labor are
starting to show some gooselos spreading their wings. Cheryl has more
time and energy to develop projects for her students and sees other
technology projects going on around the school. She saw one of the technology
mentors excited about using the portable computers with struggling students
and second language learners. Another had just given a report to the
staff about technology use at Alta. This usually was Cheryl's job. A
first grade teacher showed the impressive envelopes she had made from
building a database that personalized her report cards. Now Cheryl realizes
the formation of gooseloes is working. (http://cyberfair.gsn.org/altakcusd).
This information is from The Catalyst, Spring 1999 article "Confessions
of a Tech Mentor." Cheryl spends a lot of her energy toward mentoring
other teachers online. Check out her article in Classroom Connect's
magazine where she was honored as Internet Educator of the Year.
Pulling It All Together
In just pulling these projects
in this column together, I believe that Margaret Mead was probably talking
about teachers and staff developers like the ones mentioned here. Some
of the staff development models you use may include one or more of the
- Community-based learning
- Time and resources available
so teachers can help each other on-site and on-line
- An advocate, mentor, or
coach who provides on-site and on-line support
- A collaborative approach
to planning and implementation
- A standards and curriculum-based
- Areas of expertise strategy
- A mentor program that
builds capacity by letting others take the lead
Other characteristics of
high quality professional development are available at the National
Staff Development Council website: http://www.nsdc.org
Barbara Bray is president
of Computer Strategies, LLC and the new division, My eCoach (http://my-ecoach.com)
and writes regularly for the CUE newsletter. Bray moderates an active
listserv for professional developers. To join, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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