SSPPS Professional Learning Principles
At South St Paul Public Schools, we recognize these Adult Learning Principles identified by York-Barr (2006):
- Educators respected as self-directed learners and in charge of their own learning
- Grounded in context of practice, providing meaning that motivates and influences knowledge and skill acquisition
- Opportunities to examine underlying beliefs, values, and assumptions
- Opportunities to compare/contrast, link, and integrate old/new perspectives when information is new
York-Barr, J. (2006). Reflective practice to improve schools: An action guide for educators. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press
From the Every Child Succeeds ACT, Professional development means activities that “(A) are an integral part of school and local education agency strategies for providing educators (including teachers, principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, and, as applicable, early childhood educators) with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in the core academic subjects and to meet challenging State academic standards; and (B) are sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, and short-term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, classroom-focused….” (ESSA and Learning Forward Executive Director, Stephanie Hirsch)
We are commited to delivering professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students:
- occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment
- requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning
- requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning
- uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning
- integrates theories, research and models of human learning (i.e., learning designs) to achieve intended outcomes
- applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change
- aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards
In order for an increase in educator effectiveness to occur, we consider:
1. Educators’ commitment to students, all students, is the foundation of effective professional learning.
Committed educators understand that they must engage in continuous improvement to know enough and be skilled enough to meet the learning needs of all students. As professionals, they seek to deepen their knowledge and expand their portfolio of skills and practices, always striving to increase each student’s performance. If adults responsible for student learning do not continuously seek new learning, it is not only their knowledge, skills, and practices that erode over time. They also become less able to adapt to change, less self-confident, and less able to make a positive difference in the lives of their colleagues and students.
2. Each educator involved in professional learning comes to the experience ready to learn.
Professional learning is a partnership among professionals who engage with one another to access or construct knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions. However, it cannot be effective if educators resist learning. Educators want and deserve high-quality professional learning that is relevant and useful. They are more likely to fully engage in learning with receptive hearts and minds when their school systems, schools, and colleagues align professional learning with the standards.
3. Because there are disparate experience levels and use of practice among educators, professional learning can foster collaborative inquiry and learning that enhances individual and collective performance.
This cannot happen unless educators listen to one another, respect one another’s experiences and perspectives, hold students’ best interests at the forefront, trust that their colleagues share a common vision and goals, and are honest about their abilities, practices, challenges, and results. Professional accountability for individual and peer results strengthens the profession and results for students.
4. Like all learners, educators learn in different ways and at different rates.
Because some educators have different learning needs than others, professional learning must engage each educator in timely, high-quality learning that meets his or her particular learning needs. Some may benefit from more time than others, different types of learning experiences, or more support as they seek to translate new learning into more productive practices. For some educators, this requires courage to acknowledge their learning needs, and determination and patience to continue learning until the practices are effective and comfortable.