SLOCOE Professional Development and Instructional Support Wants To Hear From You!
We won’t have deeper learning for our students if we don’t have deeper learning for ourselves as educators. Highly effective professional learning experiences are a critical component in building the capacity of everyone in our school systems. Collective capacity building involves the increased ability of educators at all levels of the system to make the instructional changes required to raise the bar and close the gap for all students (Fullan & Quinn, 2010). This is a huge task for any organization and the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education (SLOCOE) Educational Support Services department would like to offer the vision that we can accomplish more collectively than as individual districts and schools.
Those of us educated in Western culture learned to think and manage a world that was anything but systematic or interconnected. It was a world of separations and clear boundaries: boxes described jobs, lines charted relationships and accountabilities, roles and policies described the limits of what each individual did and who we wanted them to be (Wheatly, 1999). The current emphasis on elaborate accountability measures, performance review protocols, extensive improvement plans etc. often dominates the time of teachers and leaders. The majority of district/school leaders and teacher’s time must be spent increasing their ability to impact student learning (Fullan & Quinn, 2010); meaningful, collaborative, accessible professional learning opportunities are key to accomplishing this objective.
The Gate’s Foundation identified three key elements of strong, collaborative professional learning in education:
- Teachers benefit from professional learning that happens within their school day.
- Teachers reap tremendous benefit from working with teams of colleagues to plan and share best practices.
- Professional learning should be anchored in a strong instructional system that includes coherent and relevant materials, tools, and curricula that are aligned to high standards.
To achieve this ideal vision for educators to support a collaborative culture for professional and organizational learning at all levels countywide, SLOCOE ESS will be establishing a county-wide professional development committee to include diverse voices from across the county. We aim to include various representatives from each district including leaders from academic departments, student services, special education, and programs serving unduplicated populations. There are a variety of curriculum and instruction areas of focus this committee can influence given the array of recent shifts in content frameworks and educational policies as well as the evolution of strategies to serve the “whole child”. These are only a few of the many areas this committee can partner in sharing ideas, time and resources while identifying learning opportunities that to establish common language and sets of skills for every role. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to share your interest in participating in this county-wide professional development committee.