Sunday, February 8, 2015

PD - For One and For All

Today I had a couch day...thick with a chest cold I slept, watched some Netflix and read through the #denapalooza twitter stream.  I love the way we can all participate in free PD via social media.  I have always been a proponent of PD for all.  This is the act that makes the team stronger and builds success into the very structure of the school or team.  When we roll out a new idea or tool, we commit to ongoing PD for the year to ensure that the learning goes deep and the practice is well embedded in our classrooms.

This past summer I had the good fortune to be invited to the DEN SUMMER INSTITUTE - PRINCIPAL'S SUMMIT.   However, reflecting on my visit with #DENSI2014  I am reminded me that we need to also address the needs of our early adopters and staff champions.  Id the good fortune to be invited to the DEN SUMMER INSTITUTE - PRINCIPAL'S SUMMIT  While this may not be a new idea to many, it was refreshed for me the necessity of this practice in addition to team wide PD.  When our staff champion becomes more skilled and inspired, s/he returns to our team and spreads that energy throughout the rest of the early adopters.  

As the LC arrived at DENSI2014 I watched each member embrace, catch up and then start sharing ideas and things that they had done since last seeing each other.  As Educational Leaders we need to know our team and know their passions and strengths.  Allow the expert to become more expert so that they are in a better position to share and strengthen the entire team.  When staff with similar strengths and language/understanding come together, they are already in stronger position as they do not need to start from zero.  Their sharing and learning commences quickly because: a) they are already on a similar level of conversation and b) they are excited to share their trials with an enthusiastic audience.  

On the flip side I also noted a few folks who were sharing about their flops.  A level of comfort and security was noticeable as there was also no hesitation in this sharing either.  Each of the staff champions in the DEN were recharging and learning from the first day.  If school teams had sent the teachers who were in need of convincing or who were “just not getting it” the DEN would not have had the same power that it holds.  

The team I work with is excellent and is comprised of many strong and intelligent members, even a few Denstars.  We are always committed to  meaningful school wide PD topics.  I think that I will be speaking with each of them about their  specific passions and strongest skills.  We will be making a list of topics to be on the look out for as I seek to provide strengthening and reenergizing experiences for each of them.

I think this applies to district wide PD initiatives as well.  When a ‘big gun’ is brought in to present to teachers from a number of schools, we need to balance opportunities that, using a sports analogy, strengthen the bench alongside those that strengthen the stars.  

Perhaps this is what we all need to consider next time an important Professional Development opportunity comes around.

My 28 minutes are up today - thanks for reading.  #28daysofwriting

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