Everything Districts Need to Manage Professional Growth with One Connected Platform

Everything Districts Need to Manage Professional Growth with One Connected Platform

Having a highly competent teacher workforce is the critical foundation needed to support student outcomes. To build this workforce, it’s important for administrators to manage and support educators’ ongoing professional growth.

Professional growth is an ongoing process. It requires the following:

  • Gathering evidence related to professional practice.
  • Mentoring, coaching, and collaborating with colleagues to improve practice and student learning.
  • Providing and using feedback from teacher observations and evaluations.
  • Developing professional growth plans.
  • Providing high-quality, evidence-based professional development.
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Having a system where all of these components are connected and accessible helps districts streamline their professional growth and development process, increase transparency and collaboration, and provide valuable insights and data to support informed decision-making, which will ultimately translate into better student outcomes. The components of this system should include:

Gathering Evidence Related to Professional Growth

Districts often offer many professional development opportunities throughout the year. Some might be in-person, and some might be online courses assigned to or chosen by teachers. Teachers also may have opportunities to participate in outside conferences or seminars offering certifications. It’s important for districts to be able to keep track of teachers’ professional development accomplishments whether or not it’s done in-house. Having a connected system where teachers can easily update their records as they complete outside learning and administrators can keep track of professional development completed by their teachers will help to streamline the process of gathering feedback and evidence related to professional growth.

Case in Point: Archbishop Hoban High School

At Archbishop Hoban High School, educators are using Vector PD Tracking to track PD hours associated with school-hosted PD events, faculty meetings, professional learning communities, and PD activities completed outside of the school. The Local Professional Development Committee chairperson who is in charge of licensure renewal for the school’s staff no longer has to manually keep track of hours for each teacher and teachers no longer have to set up an appointment with a dedicated staff member to determine if they have enough hours for licensure renewal. By being able to track both internal and external professional development activities, the school is creating a more streamlined and convenient environment for both teachers and administrators.

Teacher Evaluations, Collaboration, and Coaching

The annual evaluation process teachers go through can be complicated - self assessments, supervisor reviews, calibrations, approvals, and many other steps need to be accounted for each year. In a connected system, teachers and administrators should be able to easily access and track this information. If a teacher is evaluated three times per year, for example, it should be easy for both the teacher and their supervisor to easily access current and past evaluations and track progress and updates over time.

It’s also important that a school’s or district’s professional growth management system facilitates collaboration between the teachers and their supervisors and instructional coaches. Districts or schools should provide regular opportunities for teachers to obtain timely, high-quality feedback, whether this is through regular meetings or through in-person or video observations. Coaching is also an important component to the professional growth process. Many districts are implementing instructional coaching programs in which the teachers work with instructional coaches to improve their practice. Online tools that support self-reflection and emphasize two-way feedback and communications with coaches can enable more timely and constructive feedback. Providing coaching, offering feedback, and providing a way for teachers and administrators to keep track of and easily access teacher observation, coaching, and evaluation information over time all help create a more positive, collaborative professional growth culture.

Case in Point: David Douglas School District

David Douglas School District adopted the Vector Evaluations+ educator evaluation solution, which has helped administrators and evaluators perform more impactful classroom observations, while fostering greater collaboration between teachers and evaluators. The district’s licensed professionals use Evaluations+ to help them stay on track and maintain communication with their administrators throughout the entire evaluation process. The extensive reporting features in Vector Evaluations+ give districts the data needed to make adjustments at the classroom, school, and district levels to improve educator effectiveness.

Professional Development and Professional Growth Plans

Providing high-quality professional development is an important part of supporting professional growth. Edutopia notes the following as important aspects of well-designed, personalized professional learning opportunities:

  • The content is relevant, useful, and timely.
  • Teachers have agency and autonomy in terms of when, how, and what they choose to engage with.
  • Courses include time for practice, reflection, and adaptation over substantial periods of time.
  • Facilitators foster social connection and active learning.
  • The experience is based on a quality program that enables and supports engagement both online and in person.

Providing a mix of in-person and high-quality online options for professional development can help make that PD more accessible to employees. Online options help to provide flexibility in scheduling and allow users to go back and review content as needed.

Case in Point: Chicopee Public Schools

Chicopee Public Schools in Massachusetts adopted Vector Solutions’ Inclusive Instruction & Interventions course library to fill the need for engaging, relevant, on-demand courses that employees can participate in during their mandatory PD time. The courses also have an added benefit in that they fill some of the state requirements for those applying for Special Education Teacher Emergency Licenses. District staff appreciate having high-quality online courses in the areas of managing student behavior and supporting students with disabilities. And because of the tracking and reporting features available in the Vector online system, administrators can easily pull the information that the state requires for those seeking emergency licenses.

Case in Point: Prince George’s County Public Schools

Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland uses Vector’s Inclusive Instruction & Intervention courses for its paraeducators. Staff members appreciate the ability to complete assigned training on their own time, at their own pace and administrators appreciate being able to pull customizable reports by individual staff members, building, or district-level, so it's easy to monitor their overall training progress at any given time.

Case in Point: Springfield Public Schools

Springfield Public Schools in Massachusetts is using the integrated PD Tracking and Vector Training solution so that their educators can seamlessly access their online training courses from Vector in the same system where they are managing and tracking all of their other professional development.

How Vector Solutions’ Professional Growth Suite Can Help:

Vector’s integrated Professional Growth Suite brings together best-in-class professional development content and tools to manage evaluation and PD, streamlining the professional growth process for administrators, educators, and staff. The Professional Growth Suite includes:

  • Evaluations+: Maximize professional growth opportunities with easy-to-use tools and customizable forms and workflows that help you manage the evaluation and development process from start to finish for educators and staff across your district. 
  • PD Tracking: Easily plan, manage, track, and evaluate all professional development events and activities for educators and staff – improving organization, streamlining communications, and saving valuable time. 
  • Vector Training: Address individual professional development needs and support ongoing professional growth with access to hundreds of high-quality online courses on important safety, prevention, and inclusive instruction topics.​
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Easy-to-use tools, simplified administrative workflows, and centralized reporting and tracking in one consolidated platform increase efficiency for administrators and empower professional growth and development for educators and staff.  

For more information visit www.vectorsolutions.com/k12

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