In between my other work assignments, I’ve been thinking a lot about professional development. I want to make changes for next year, and after all of the different sessions I’ve attended this year, I’ve found plenty of ideas. Some are things I want to incorporate; others not so much. I know that whatever I do has to be doable by a small number of ITRTs. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my ideas will need to be able to be managed by myself, which is why I’m limiting them to the two schools I work at each week. I work at the middle and high school, so if I can make them work here, they would be easily worked into the elementary schools.
Originally I had the idea to take Chesterfield County’s LITE Cohort and mix it with another district’s ideas. I ended up designing FlucoTECH. I presented the draft idea to the administration team, and they did enjoy it. Like Chesterfield’s LITE Cohort, it applied to those teachers who wanted to work on designing their own PD with the assistance of the ITRT. The goal was to meet the needs of the staff who wanted to grow in the way that best suited them. I was happy with my draft, but that’s all it was. It still didn’t address the needs of my staff who weren’t finding themselves at that level of learning. I was stumped.
Then along came EdtechRVA and Bite-Sized PD. Here was the solution that I was looking for! My staff that needed assistance learning in small chunks would be able to hand bite-sized PD and attend only the sessions that applied to them. The sessions would be easy to offer during the day, once a week, and follow up sessions were also easy to take care of as well. I was pretty elated to solve that issue because it also let me eliminate after school PD. To be successful with bite-sized PD, I would need to take the concept and break it down into chunks of information so that I could run multiple classes on the topic.
While I was pretty pleased that I now had ideas to address the low and high level learners, I still didn’t have anything for my mid-range learners, the ones who wanted the attention and break down of bite-sized PD, but also the ability to work at their own pace and time like the FlucoTECH PD.
That led to me thinking of a tiered system for professional development. So far, I hadn’t seen anything like it. I’ve seen districts have one new solution for professional development that tended to address only certain types of learners. So what if we did have a tiered PD system? What if there were 3 levels in this system, and teachers could choose the one that best suited them? They would be free to move back and forth between the levels as needed. Maybe they want to learn on their own for one topic, but for another they’d rather attend bite sized PD instead?
These are just a few of the questions that have been bumping around in my head this past week. I want to make this a reality for my teachers, and I need to work on designing level 2 and revamping level 3. I also believe I would call the entire thing FlucoTECH, and then just use the levels to designate the different programs. FlucoTECH Level I, FlucoTech Level 2, FlucoTECH Level 3… Oh that’s right I haven’t said what the TECH part stands for: Teachers Explorers Creators Hackers.
There is definitely still a lot more work to be done in order to make this idea a successful reality. I certainly don’t believe it’s the end all, be all solution, but I do believe that it’s a step in the right direction. It’s definitely a step toward getting away from the old traditional methods. Let’s see what happens…