Want Meaningful PD? Get Teachers Involved

Katie Novak
Katie Novak
February 3, 2021

Recently, I attended the National Teacher Voice Convening in DC, and while I was there, I realized how great my own district’s PD model is. Why? Because it’s run by teachers and it’s totally aligned to the UDL philosophy (for more info on the UDL Guidelines, click here). I would love for this model to catch on nationwide, so if it sounds good to you, please share!

Our model was the brainchild of Dr. Kristan Rodriguez, Chelmsford Public Schools assistant superintendent, and her PD committee. It goes like this:

  • At the end of each school year, an electronic survey is distributed district-wide. Teachers are encouraged to request PD opportunities that would be most meaningful to them the following year (UDL Guideline 7.2: Optimize relevance, value, and authenticity).
  • Results are analyzed and a list of needed PD is posted.
  • Teachers who specialize in desired areas are encouraged to design PD sessions in a multi-part series model and apply to facilitate sessions.
  • The PD committee reviews applications and selects PD teacher leaders.
  • Teachers who are chosen become leaders have the opportunity to showcase their skills to others. Also, there is a generous stipend!
  • Presenters, session summaries, and agendas are posted early in school year.
  • All teachers in the district choose which session they want to attend based on their needs (UDL Guideline 7.1: Optimize individual choice and autonomy.) The district carves out four half days for teachers to run sessions, but this could also be done after school.
  • At the end of year, participants evaluate their experience to inform PD decisions for next academic year. Also, presenters are given valuable feedback on effectiveness of session to help them improve future offerings (UDL Guideline: 8.4: Increase mastery-oriented feedback and 9.3: Develop self-assessment and reflection)

Please spread the word that this is a viable option for PD. Rock star teachers need leadership opportunities and a platform to help spread their awesomeness to others.

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