Professional Development supports the School District of Philadelphia by building human capacity through leadership professional development. This in turn allows for the enhacing professional skills, and developing strategies for improved effectiveness throughout the organization to ensure that all children achieve at high levels.
In the past I have advocated for the unconference model adopted by EdCampPhilly to fill the gaps in the District's professional development plans. But, this year, I was excited to be a part of a new opportunity: a professional collaboration.
My school (along with a number of others) sent a representative (me) to discuss what our day of learning will look like on May 21st. As it is a full day away wiothout students it provides a unique opportunity to get teachers together from across the District to actually do something worthwhile. We have already started the planning stages: asking teachers to share their thoughts on what they want to learn and what they would be able to teach instead of being told what to listen to (like an unengaging webinar or powerpoint presentation). With that feedback we will craft sessions over the course of the day and allow teachers to sign up for what they want to attend. We trust that teachers will make the proper decisions for themselves - a truly professional act.
While I am happy and eager to participate in this it leaves a question in my mind: why are other schools and parts of the District not allowed to do this? Is it such a scary thought that teachers might know what they want to learn or that they might be able to educate each other?
After all, if the populace trusts us to educate its most precious asset, wouldn't it make sense that we share what we learn with each other?
I hope people in the school district will take note and apply these principles elsewhere.