The Secondary Principal's Perspective
The Secondary Principal’s Perspective
By Thomas Perlinski
Recently Bayard Public School teachers and administrators attended the ESU 13 mid-winter conference titled “Increasing Engagement for Student Success”. Area schools including Bayard have attended this conference for several years as one method for professional staff development. Professional development for school staff members is not a new concept, but with “recent developments in education policy and practice, such as the No Child Left Behind Act and high-stakes tests, increase the expectation on educators to improve student learning” according to an education policy brief about professional development.
Losing instructional time with late starts, student days off for teacher professional development, and having a substitute teacher may seem like we are taking away from the learning of our students. Research has shown that teacher expertise can account for a significant variance in student learning. Research also shows that positive changes occur in teachers’ practices when they experience professional development. Bayard Schools encourages all staff to engage in some form of professional development whether that is the pursuit of a Master’s degree, online course work, workshop attendance, or staff collaboration. Our recent attendance at the mid-winter conference is just one type of professional development many of our teachers engage in.
Teachers engage in professional development primarily because becoming a better teacher means enhancing student learning outcomes. Teachers want the best for their students. Teachers also often engage in professional development because they are life-long learners, one of the traits we want to model for our students. One of the ways we are going to model life-long learning is when teachers engage in professional development activities they will complete a reflection and planning worksheet to be displayed for the students and public to see. Our teachers are learning and improving on a continual basis.