These are my notes from Dawn Danker-Pearce and Kathy Davis, “Look at Me Now! Changing the Face of Professional Development” at the February 8, 2012 Oklahoma Technology Association / Encycl-Media Conference. Dawn and Kathy are with Yukon Public Schools. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. The official session description was:

Is it hard to get your teachers excited about attending training? Do they dread PD Day in your district? Join this session to hear how Yukon Public Schools changed the face of their PD model by implementing some foundational strategies and introducing an ‘Un?Conference’ Conference Model.

I AUDIO RECORDED THIS SESSION WITH PERMISSION USING THE FREE IPAD APP CINCH, IT’S EMBEDDED BELOW:

Today we will try and communicate our evolving model of professional development

we call it the ‘un-conferenced-conference model’

the problems:
– teachers are unmotivated to attend PD
– teachers didn’t see the relevance to sessions
– negative feedback

The needs of the district and teachers need to converge
– we want to change the face of PD in Yukon (change perceptions / opinions / and offerings)
– build a relevant PD program

This is hard because the district always has new initiatives: New hardware, Baldrige training, etc…

Does Your Professional Event Suffer from Boring Conference Syndrome?

We had lots of past experience with large-group, motivational speakers
– those “touchy-feely presentations” don’t appeal to everyone
– everyone’s needs are different

Someone said: “we need to go back to site-based PD”
– team building / true colors / etc.
– we have been stuck in this rut for about 2 years

From participants:

OKCPS elementary schools are implementing a new core curriculum program, all teachers have to be trained in the next two years
– 12 trainers, training after school for 35 schools
– after school, teachers getting stipends
– many teachers are resistant
– trainers are not getting together and collaborating much since the start of term

Crescent Public Schools is continuing its ‘de-regulation model’ of PD where students get out at 2 pm on Wednesdays, and teachers stay from 2-4 for PD

Some districts having problem providing ‘just in time’ PD which is needed on Friday PD days because the schedule for the year is defined/determined at the start of the year

Self-Determination Theory by Deci and Ryan: To make something intrinsic from a motivational standpoint, we need:
– autonomy
– competence
– relatedness

This theory has driven our PD model for Yukon PS

“Have you noticed Accelerated Reader doesn’t follow this model?”

The Program… Now!
– goals: encourage ongoing learning

we had a money crunch in our district which prohibited teacher travel, so all our PD was site-based

now this semester we’ve brought in Wes Fryer as an instructional coach, working 1 on 1 and in small groups with teachers on their planning times focusing on common core integration

our individual and campus goals can’t sit outside the overall goals of the district (these goals need to be in alignment)

‘CHOICE is the main thing our teachers want when it comes to professional development’

Results from today's survey by Yukon Public Schools about PD

Providing choices is a mindset change for teachers
– this changes who is responsible for PD
– we are not taking responsibility for other people’s learning in the way we’ve traditionally done it
– we encourage students to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning, we need to do the same thing with teachers and teacher PD

When we mandate training for teachers, we turn off the learning for many teachers
– by offering choice, it’s up to teachers to to build their own learning

Results: 83% (426 of 512 employees) are opting out of the PD day coming up in February because they already got training through different ways
– teachers can go work in their room that day instead of going to PD that day

We are not paying teachers for PD choice, but it is

It makes us sad when teachers don’t want to go to PD
– We know everyone doesn’t feel that way
– so we have to get our message out, and the ‘carrot’ was important for this

Another key: we don’t keep track of teachers’ points
– teachers are professionals
– “I am a professional, treat me like one”
– we are working on modeling this

We now encourage our principals to make faculty meets into PD, several are doing book studies
– they are not reading announcements anymore
– this also means PD for the administration
– we highly encourage our administrators to participate in PD

Next: we are working on focusing on pedagogy, practice and process
– what are the qualities and processes of good educational process

We need to move away, as much as we can as schools, from the model of ‘we bought a new product, now lets to get trained on it’
– teachers need training on how these different things ‘fit’ into our teaching and learning

We are already collaborating with other districts, and want to explore other possibilities for collaboration

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