I’m Donna Campbell, Director of Professional Development Capacity Building at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). The Professional Development Leadership Academy (PDLA) is a three-year long curriculum of training and back-home application for school and district teams based on the Learning Forward Professional Learning Standards, derived from research.
- Legislation supports evaluation. I’ve learned it’s easier to train school teams to conduct Guskey Level 3 evaluations of organizational support than to scale this evaluation step to a state level. The advent of the Common Core Standards (CCS) is raising awareness of the need for ADE to gather Level 3 data. We are seizing this golden opportunity.
- Understand significant shifts. The CCS instructional shifts seem to be a catalyst for education leaders to challenge their assumption that if teachers just attend training sessions their instructional practice will change.
- Building capacity is often top-down. An ADE cross-divisional team is designing processes to build school leaders capacity to provide organizational support to teachers including opportunities for collaboration, time to practice new skills, follow-up, and feedback. Our challenge: apply lessons learned from PDLA to every school and district in Arizona.
- Teams set the stage. Teams’ attention to strengthening cultures of collegial support sets the stage for monitoring transfer of knowledge to the classroom, Guskey’s Level 4. If complex and large-scale instructional change is to be implemented and sustained, organizational support is essential. Level 3 has been the missing link in previous standards-based reform efforts.
- Teams develop their capacity to design, implement, and evaluate results-driven professional development (PD) to improve student learning. After focusing the first year on data analyses, goal-setting, theories of action, and planning PD to achieve a well-defined instructional change, teams are introduced to Guskey’s five-level evaluation model in year two.
- School teams tend to focus Level 3 data gathering on school-level data. For instance, we invite teams to annually administer two surveys: Learning Forward’s Standards Assessment Inventory (SAI) for teachers; and Education for the Future’s perception surveys for teachers, students, and parents. Teams analyze teacher survey data to assess perceived collegial and principal support over time. They also compare the amount of time designated at their school for professional learning from their start to finish of PLDA. Some routinely review written records of various teams at their school, checking for shared focus and follow-through. Results show examples of Level 3 progress through markers of increased candor and openness among faculty members or increased teacher participation in the PDLA team work.
- Education Minnesota, Thomas Guskey’s 5 levels of professional development evaluation
- Learning Forward Professional Learning Standards
- Learning Forward Standards Assessment Inventory (SAI)
- Education for the Future Surveys
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