Learning Forward – Part 3: Leadership, Resources, Data

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Now that we have unpacked the core elements of Learning Communities (view the previous post here), let’s move into the next three standards: Leadership, Resources, and Data.

The Leadership Standard states: “Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.”

Leadership as explained in the Standards is more than just a formal role.  All stakeholders who have something to share and desire results are leaders.  Professional Development leaders must be leaders of learning.  Leaders model the value of learning by engaging in learning activities that staff members can observe.  They are advocates.  The role of an advocate represents the voice of the student, the parents, the school, or the district at the state level and above.  Policy leaders must hear from professional development leaders to understand the importance of professional learning and why it is integral part of student success.

The Resources Standard states: “Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.”

Professional learning must be embedded into an educator’s workday to increase opportunities for continuous learning. Professional Learning leaders must be the bridge for educators.   Finding solutions to remove the barriers of time, space and money for educators is key. Leaders understand the value of resources. They strive to utilize human resources, fiscal resources, material, time, and technology efficiently by taking advantage of these resources in the right place at the right time. Effective leaders avoid reducing dollars during lean times and become creative by seeking out support from various sources.  Leaders must be transparent in how they are doing things and document the evidence that the school’s professional learning resources are being used successfully.  Leaders help stakeholders to see the value and contributions of the professional development program.

The Data Standard states: “Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.”

Proper evaluation identifies the link between professional learning and student achievement, providing useful information for improved planning, facilitation, and support. Evaluation should be conducted internally and externally, gathering data from various sources and addressing questions at different levels of the organization that are relevant to the target audience. Federal policymakers want to know if the investment contributed to student achievement; school system leaders want to know if increasing the time for teacher collaboration or adding coaches resulted in changes in teacher practice and student learning; teachers want to know if implementation of new instructional practices increased their effectiveness with specific students.   The data collected through evaluation should drive the professional development program in order to impact teacher effectiveness and student achievement.

How are you evaluating your PD program and using the data to drive the direction and planning of your professional development program to impact student achievement?

Mary MitchellMary Mitchell is an instructor who has held several positions at FLVS over the years. A National Board Certified Teacher, she has been recognized as a Teacher of the Year for FLVS, the United States Distance Learning Association, and Discovery Middle School in Orange County, FL. She has written articles on topics ranging from computer image processing to teacher training for the online classroom.

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