Monday, September 13, 2021

Watering the Seed: Professional Growth Goals & Professional Learning Communities

Starting last year, with the creation of my new position as Director of Professional Development, our Professional Growth Goals (PGGs) were moved away from the division directors and placed under the authority of me. The first step in my mind was to establish a robust, yet flexible approach to meaningful PD through the PGGs. Because the approach was new, teachers were a little indifferent to the change at first. They diligently wrote their goals and then I began meeting with each of them for a short discussion understanding and clarify their goals. The meetings went really well and were very positive. I received a few comments from some teachers like, "This is great! I've never had a meeting about my PGG before." In the mid-year meetings, the new enthusiasm continued even in the face of Covid. And in the final meetings of the year, teachers shared what they had learned and how they planned to change their practice in the 2021-22 school year.

Along the way, I had been planting seeds. I had mentioned the idea of teachers teaming up to do PGGs together as well as entire departments collaborating in PGGs. So in my first meetings this year, I was ecstatic to see those seeds growing. Two of the music teachers wanted to support each other with improving their guitar skills because so many of our students play guitar. The entire Social Studies department wants to do a book study over Hattie's Visible Learning. Each teacher from the department will take the lead on one of the chapters. I was so excited to see a Professional Learning Community born completely naturally at our school without cajoling. I still have 40 more meetings to go, so I know there will be more amazing PGGs in the coming days.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to simply plant seeds, put a little water on them, and then sit back and watch them grow.