All Educational Directions PD offerings are action-oriented. The session begins with an introduction to issues, includes an introduction to the knowledge base related to the resolution of those issues, and then provides participants with facilitated planning time to take what they have learned back into their role at the school or district level. All participants will leave an Educational Directions PD session with a personal action plan that includes objectives, action steps, a monitoring plan, and a level-of-success analysis plan.
Professional development is based on Educational Directions’ Rhythm of the Learner Year. Strategies and tools will be taught a few weeks prior to a learning window, and these ideas will be reinforced in PLCs and modeled in classrooms.
Professional Learning Delivery Model
The Educational Directions trainers average more than 30 years of teacher and administrator training, dealing directly with rigorous academic standards and high-stakes accountability.
Our approach to Professional Development moves students from where they are to where they need to be, using best practice methodology, proprietary methods, and goal-oriented strategies. This student-focused, research-based, delivery model ensures students move from where they are, to where they need to be when it’s time for state assessments. We call this approach “intentional and individualized” development of the learner and performer. It includes research on how students learn and retain what they have learned, and how and why they perform as they perform. It emphasizes:
- Standards are minimum competencies expected of everyone.
- We improve schools by focusing on the work students must do to be learners and performers, and not by replacing or retraining the adults.
- Teachers are responsible not for covering content but for enabling all students to demonstrate their potential as a “proficient” learners and performers.
- Mastery learning is a product not of teacher work but of high-level student engagement in effective learning work.
- School planning and decision-making must be driven by data (scores are descriptive data but do not identify point of breakdown or cause of breakdown) that identifies the priority needs of individual students.
- Teacher planning must include diversification and differentiation strategies to address differences in learning styles, rates, processing, organization, and presentation.
- Data management plans must include diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments (not just tests) to provide ongoing monitoring of student growth as learner and performer.
- Data management plans must include “top-down” and “bottom-up” strategies.
Academic leadership teams are trained along with district support personnel regarding what changes should be made to course, unit, and lesson plans in order make strategies more outcome-based, as opposed to content-based. In this scenario, each academic leadership team works cooperatively with their assigned Educational Directions coach to identify their school/district priorities and follow up by developing an ad hoc action plan for each school. The Educational Directions coaches then collaborate directly with central office and state department of education staff (if available) to mentor the academic leadership team in creating academic change in the school.
The Educational Directions coaches can then schedule academic audits for schools and are responsible for facilitating, mentoring, monitoring, and assisting school leadership in promoting positive change in schools.
This approach has proven successful in various scenarios including large and small as well as rural and urban districts.
Processes for Educator Collaboration
All work that Ed Directions does in a district or school involves the development of collaboration channels (e.g., central office to school, school leadership to teachers, teachers to teachers, teachers to students, and Ed Directions staff to all of the above). Many of the tools in the Ed Directions toolkit used with districts or schools are set up to encourage sharing and discussion of data between and among role groups, districts, and schools and lead to the development of shared priorities and plans.
When working in schools, the Ed Directions coaches and mentors train school staff in professional learning community strategies and facilitate PLC discussions of staff and student work with the goal of developing working PLCs in all schools. When working with the district, the focus is on developing central office and school leadership professional learning communities that share common priorities and skill sets (e.g., data generation or ad hoc planning).
Leadership Building Strands
Educational Directions provides a variety of district and school leadership building programs. Programs are offered for existing academic leaders and for teachers who have been identified as possessing leadership characteristics and potential. This professional development series usually includes training coupled with ongoing coaching with shaping feedback. Our program emphasizes specific areas of academic leadership:
- Developing a cognitive base to support standards-based educational leadership by establishing best practice expectations for academic leaders.
- Mastering of the “unpacking” process for quantifying state standards and turning the unpacking into intentional, outcome-based curricula.
- Developing an expertise base in building, monitoring, and refining management and academic systems.
- Mastering the development and marketing of the vision of a successful school for the students in the school’s student body to be shared by all stakeholders – leaders, teachers, students, and parents.
- Developing strategies for increasing academic visibility and providing onsite support for non-academic staff, teachers, and students.
- Developing the cognitive base for analyzing student learner work and student performance work and using the analysis to inform decisions about lesson planning and support systems for at-risk students.
- Learning to develop and maintain ad hoc data streams needed to conduct ongoing evaluations of program delivery, teaching effectiveness, student progress as learner and performer, and school improvement on state assessments and in successful transitions.
- Developing strategies for conducting formative and summative evaluations that reflect district procedures and teacher buy-in and implementation of school SIP’s and tactical action plans.