Keep Your Professional Development Initiatives Fresh This Summer

Vol. 16 No. 5

PSN eletter vol15 no5 PD

Professional development should be an ongoing focus for every private-independent school. It’s a core ISM philosophy that quality, career-long professional development for faculty and staff directly correlates to higher levels of student engagement, satisfaction, and performance. There are always new things to learn, different methods to try, and gains to be made from personal reflection.

The summer months are a perfect time to examine your school’s professional development initiatives. Whether that’s planning to attend workshops, hosting your own, or inviting speakers, professional development enhances professional and personal advancement, provides the opportunity to network with private-independent school peers, and generates ideas correlating to evolving student needs.

Looking for some ideas to freshen up your professional development this summer? We’ve got you covered.

  • Give your educators the power to choose. There is rarely a time when a "one-size-fits-all" strategy works for professional development. Educators have varied interests and want to grow in different areas. Ensure educators have the opportunity to work with their mentors to identify their areas of focus. Then allow faculty members to develop their own paths for professional development, detailing where they want to improve and how they will measure outcomes.
  • Make professional development intentional. One-off workshops or in-services without intention rarely produce results. Professional development initiatives should be consistent and offered to educators and administrators throughout their tenures at your school. Professional development should also be in line with the school’s academic plan, strategic direction, and, of course, mission.
  • Incorporate “training the trainer.” How many times has someone come into your school to talk about a particular subject without fully understanding your culture or background? These types of sessions often come off as inauthentic and leave your staff feeling underwhelmed. Instead, hire outside consultants who understand the unique needs of your school to work with lead teachers in specific areas, who can then share their new knowledge with their peers.
  • Research workshops to attend. Stepping off campus and networking with like-minded peers is an invaluable resource. Use the summer months to see what upcoming workshops would be helpful for your teachers and staff. And don’t forget that there are also workshops for administrators to hone their skills (Shameless plug: ISM’s Summer Institute in Wilmington, DE; Advancement Academy in San Diego, CA; and Business and Operations Academy in St. Louis, MO, are all coming up within the next few months).
  • Make it fun! Professional development is only as good as what is taken back and implemented in your school. Ensure the professional development that you offer promotes creativity and innovation, allowing educators to devise strategies that work for their students’ unique needs. Also, give them the means to be practical so they can quickly put their plans into action.

Helping educators grow through professional development is critical to a high-functioning culture within your school.

Have any suggestions for freshening your school’s professional development initiatives this summer? Let us know in a comment below.

Additional ISM resources:
ISM's 2017 Summer Institute
ISM's 2017 Advancement Academy
ISM's 2017 Business and Operations Academy
The Source for Academic Leadership Vol. 13 No. 10 Teach the Teachers: Four Flexible Professional Development Ideas for Summer
The Source for Private School News Vol. 15 No. 4 Report Shows Increased Spending, Emphasis on Professional Development

Additional ISM resources for Gold members:
I&P Vol. 32 No. 8 The Changing Paradigm for Professional Development
I&P Vol. 41 No. 12 A Renewed Perspective for Professional Development

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