Board of Trustees
Promethean, an educational hardware provider, recently released a survey, “The State of Technology Report 2019,” about technology in the classroom. A key finding was that 39% of school staffs do not have professional development or “adequate learning opportunities” for using technology in their teaching. (Although only 7% of the survey respondents were employed by private schools, the findings are still relevant.) Many teachers—perhaps some on your faculty—are ill-prepared to incorporate technology into their lesson plans.
The Value of EdTech Professional Development
ISM has long recommended that schools set aside funding for professional development of teachers. This starts with the Board during the strategic planning and strategic financial planning process. One of the three “meta-predictors” in the ISM Success Predictors (our predictions of what will be necessary to establish and sustain institutional success) is to provide “year-round investment in developing mastery-based, tech-supported, and customized” teaching, advising, and learning. Professional development in edtech is now an essential element.
However, in our research, we found that most schools (approximately 80%) still fund PD at 1% or less of their budget. ISM calls for allocating a benchmark of at least 2% of operating costs to professional development—and, considering the growing needs for technology in classrooms, the reality is probably going to be higher than that. A teacher may never be an expert in technology—even technology experts can barely keep up with the innovations. But falling behind or ignoring those innovations is no longer an option. Ongoing training is required.
Another concern is the marketing message you send to students and their parents. Providing PD to your teachers is actually an investment in improving the student experience and student outcomes. If your school’s efforts to provide faculty support appear “antiquated,” you’ll find it difficult to attract and retain families.
What You Should Do Now
The School Head, Business Manager, and Finance Committee Chair should scrutinize the current budget. If your school is not funding 2% or more for professional development, the Board must take measures to do so during its next quadrennial planning session. Consider how to move the professional development line strategically (i.e., over time through strategic planning and strategic financial planning) to reach at least a 2% goal. For example, you can incrementally add at least 0.1% a year (and more, if possible) to grow the funding.
Consider this cost as an investment than than as an expense. Your faculty and your students stand to benefit short- and long-term when your Board allocates funding for teacher training in today’s educational technology. Adding to your professional development budget (following ISM benchmark recommendations) is an essential part of any good strategic plan and strategic financial plan. This is one of the best uses of money in your budget.
On the other hand, a lack of faculty training will continue to slow adoption of edtech tools and protocols in the classroom, and students will further outpace their teachers in technological advances. To remain competitive today, your school must provide funding for professional development in educational technology—this cannot be ignored when developing your strategic financial plan.
Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Private School News Vol. 15 No. 4 Report Shows Increased Spending, Emphasis on Professional Development
The Source for School Heads Vol. 16 No. 10 Five Ways to Help Your Faculty Adopt New Technology
The Source for Academic Leadership Vol. 15 No. 2 5 Strategies for Your Professional Development Initiatives
Additional ISM resources for members:
I&P Vol. 41 No. 12 A Renewed Perspective for Professional Development
I&P Vol. 41 No. 16 Professional Development: Five Worst Practices
I&P Vol. 37 No. 8 Strategic Financial Planning and Your School’s Budget: Companion Documents
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