Sustainability Professional Development Design
When we asked our advisory board "What have you gained through this project that you want most to sustain after the funding is gone?" the resounding response was, "new strategies in professional development design." In many ways, Mesa was very traditional in its model of professional development delivery. 1) Choose from a menu of pre-determined courses, 2) sign up for a set of sit-down structured sessions, and 3) get credit towards the next step on the salary scale. In our mission to increase math and science instructional skills, developing site-based learning communities has been central to the design. This included development of shared visions at the school level and locally driven professional development as an inquiry process. Early in the project, multiple strategies for professional development were directly taught to all leadership teachers (300+). They were supported in each school with modest local budgets and delivered cross district with specific models (study groups, internet listserv discussions, peer mentoring, summer institutes, others) provided by our project. In this final year of goal setting and working towards sustainability, schools are noting that these changes can be sustained because they don't cost additional money and are teacher driven. It's not unlike riding a mountain bike regularly over rocky singletrack. What an "Aha!" experience to switch to a full suspension design. The rider will never go back to a "hardtail" unless they enjoy having a sore rear-end!
Surviving changes in superintendency and personnel department policies.
Impact Of LSCs' Progress, Professional Development