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PD today is a topic that education continuously discusses. It is the cornerstone of all facilities and often sets apart the good, from the great. Proper PD can make the difference in thousands of students education and proper implementation is key. This post will outline the 5 biggest questions that I get regarding PD offerings for school districts. Please consider all of them the next time you are offered PD. 

Is it being Measured?
  • Gaining feedback on the effectiveness of your PD is a huge part of proper implementation. Without this loop, you will not see any growth. Check back in with your offerings no later than 8 hours after the session to get the best peek at how it went. 
  • Create a generic survey asking questions like:
    • How easy do you see the implementation of this learning in your classroom?
    • What were three key learnings you took away from this session?
    • What improvements could be made if any, to this session?
Are you Empowering your Innovators?
  • Every building has those teachers who are high flyers. They love to push the boundaries and strive the be different from their peers. These teachers need to be empowered! They need to be able to share their story with others, both in, and out of your district. Offer to have them present at a staff meeting, or a local conference. If they desire, push them to present at a state level conference. The key is to NEVER say "no". If they want to do it, let them! Taking the time to push these individually will gain traction with others and spread the innovation.
Are you Offering Enough?
  • This is a tough one because it comes with money. Leveraging the funding you have to the best of its ability is key. Ensuring proper planning, scheduling, and offerings will ensure your event runs smoothly. 
  • There are some ways to work around the money issue. Edcamps are free offerings that can be completely optional. Offering these on a weekend, or outside of the school year relieves the need for funding. Digital offerings provide teachers anytime, anywhere learning. Awarding CEU's instead of funding is also a great change up. 
Is it Best Practices
  • This is one that is very important and is especially pertinent when discussing technology. The PD needs to reflect the direction that you want to travel as a district. The key here is the alignment of messaging. 
    • Ex. If your district is working hard to push device workflow and creation, sessions regarding specific apps and tutoring websites should not be offered. This is a mixed message.
    • Ex 2. If social media is block at school, learning through social media should not be offered (regardless of how helpful it can be). 
Are you Pushing?
  • It is a fine balance, and a hard decision to make when choosing what level material to offer. I have seen two successful systems that work well to push all individuals.
    • Match the Audience - Learn where each staff member is at, and offer sessions that match those levels.
      • Ex. If 25% need intro and 75% need advanced, Offer 1 remedial and 3 advanced options.
    • Push the 80% - This method relies on the premise that peers with push each other. The floor is raised and the bottom 20% needs to match suite. There are always teachers who fall into this category, regardless of the reason why, their current practices are extinguished. This can be done softly by offering different best practices sessions, and supporting that learning with specialists work. District wide goals, and expectations also clearly define what needs to happen in classrooms.