AASA 2016

Presentation Slides

The link below is to the handouts for the presentation on professional development at the National Conference on Education 2016 in Phoenix:

Article in the Conference Daily Online:

Superintendents Model Personalized Learning for Their Staffs

     By Rebecca S. Salon/Conference Daily Online, Feb. 12, 2016

“We are the living proof of the power of social media,” noted Candance Singh, superintendent of the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District near San Diego, Calif.

She and three other superintendents met through AASA’s Twitter feed, connecting over a tweet about improving professional development for teachers to promote student learning outcomes and about staying connected. Some hadn’t met in person until Friday when they formed a conference panel in Phoenix.

In this rich hour-long session, each superintendent focused on one effective practice they adopted in their school district that is reaping positive outcomes.

Dan Frazier, superintendent in Litchfield, Minn., discussed transforming professional development based on research and direct feedback from teachers, resulting in professional development that is individualized and personalized.

Singh’s strategies are built on adult learning principles and a program known as Implementation Science to better ensure that teachers experience professional development as personalized, relevant and useful. Her personalized learning approach, focused on promoting blended learning for students and teachers, successfully uses job-embedded coaching for professional development. This approach, based on the work of Linda Darling-Hammond, is grounded in day-to-day teaching practice to enhance instruction and improve student learning with personalized blueprints for student success.

The focus in Chris Gaines’ district is “Individually Focused. Committed to All.”  As superintendent in Mehlville, Mo., Gaines highlighted his work to institutionalize a change the culture in his district, which started and supports an Innovation Academy and Innovation Incubator, within which staff earn badges for accomplishments.

In the district where Dena Cushenberry serves as superintendent, the Warren Township Schools in Indiana leveraged Race to the Top funding to focus on all learners. Both child and adult, the schools chief said, “deserve personalized learning experiences,” with learning belief statements that are personalized by every school to promote innovation.

Frazier personalizes professional development for teachers in Litchfield, Minn., in part by encouraging staff to choose their own professional development activities, citing examples that promote edWeb.net, podcasts (e.g.,  AASA radio, EdChat Radio, BAM! Radio Network, Goin’ Digital), edcamp, Twitter chats (e.g., #edchat, #edtechchat, #tlap, #satchat, #satchatwc, #flipclass, #sschat, #ptchat, #kinderchat and #SuptChat).

All four superintendents modeled their commitment to professional development for their staffs by creating their own informal practice network with each other. They, in turn, encourage their teachers to model personalized learning for their students.

Slides from this session are available through two AASA superintendent blogs at http://danfrazier.blogspot.com and http://paddlingsuperintendent.blogspot.com.

(Rebecca S. Salon is a disabilities policy professional in Washington, D.C.)

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