Monday, March 30, 2009

Shaping the Future of Professional Development

Joseph Semadeni, Dr. Mark Taylor and Dr. Kelly Tolman from the Lincoln County School District #2 in Afton, WY presented a unique program they developed to engage teachers in professional development called FUSION. The three main components of the program allowed for additional time for completion of study, a motivation system that included a multi tiered menu of alternatives and pay, and most critically teacher leadership to run the program.

Time - A highly qualified substitute was hired to man classes so that teachers involved in study could make peer observations of master teachers.

Motivational System - Teachers were given choice about the professional development they would participate in based on interest or need. The menu of alternatives included several activities under topic columns including strategies, management, technology, assessment, approaches, programs and content. Based on their level of complexity the amount of pay a teacher could gain increases once the teacher has completed a mastery process.

Teacher Leadership - A teacher who has fulltime teaching responsibility is given a stipend to manage the program. They retain the position for 2-3 years and schedule the peer observations, facilitate study groups and keep track of the fundung used.

One of the unique things about this particular presentation is that they had a "plant" in the audience masquerading as a "tired, grouchy" teacher who interjected repeatedly throughout the presentation with questions and comments. By the end even "she" was sold on FUSION as a way to encourage teachers to engage in professional learning! :)