Administrator’s Corner: Purposeful professional development

Published 8:00 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

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Administrator’s Corner by Tonya Franks

Have you ever wondered why there are district days/staff only built into the school calendar or asked yourself, “What happens on those days when teachers are working but my children are at home?” The answer is professional development, which naturally leads to the next question “What is professional development?”

Tonya Franks

Our district mission is to ensure individual academic, social and emotional growth that leads to engaged citizens and lifelong learners. This focus on our students allows us to narrow the focus of our professional development for our teachers. Albert Lea Area teachers returned to work on Jan. 3-4 for professional development.

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Professional development provides support to teachers to allow them to continually enhance their pedagogical skills. The professional development is directly related to teachers’ instructional growth goals and allows teachers the opportunity to discuss effective teaching strategies with their colleagues. At Halverson, our focus was on effective teaching in every classroom, specific to English language arts instruction. We started with appraising our current practices and reflecting on the effectiveness of those practices. Data analysis is an essential part of determining whether our practices are effective or need revision. With this analysis, we were able to reconsider and reprioritize practices and make decisions as to what changes need to be implemented in response to the data.

On Tuesday, Halverson teachers reviewed and learned how skilled readers use word recognition and language comprehension. Teachers purposefully planned for how to address these critical components within their daily instruction. On Wednesday, the focus was purposefully planning English language arts units that address how to chunk and process content as well as once content is presented how to work with students to record and represent their learning.

All of this work aligns to our district goals of:

• Ensure high quality core instruction focusing on tier 1 of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support.

• Strengthen the professional learning communities and data cycles.

• Buildings achieve level 2 certification in High Reliability Schools: Effective teaching in every classroom.

Because of this dedication to professional development and a commitment to excellence, our staff is better equipped to meet the needs of our students.

Tonya Franks is principal of Halverson Elementary School.