The Effective School, Schooling, and Professional Development Component...
focuses on ensuring that effective school and schooling practices prevail across every school and in every classroom. Involving every teacher, administrator, related service professionals, and support person in a school, this translates into classrooms where teachers are effective and supported, instruction is differentiated and meaningful, and classroom management is goal-oriented, positive, and consistent.
All of this requires a belief that professional development occurs, formally and informally, every day for every staff person. When it occurs in a formal sense, professional development focuses on (a) enhancing staff knowledge, (b) transferring knowledge into effective skills, and (c) nurturing staff independence and professional self-confidence. To maximize the success of this process, professional development involves exciting and skill-focused in-services, and a clinical supervision approach that integrates modeling, guided practice, informed feedback, planned implementation, and the systematic transfer of training. This also involves staff collaboration, collegial consultation, and ongoing, constructive feedback.
The foundation to student engagement and academic and behavioral progress and success is effective classroom instruction and positive school and classroom climates. This component recognizes the importance of evidence-based training to accomplish these goals. But it also realizes that these goals will be unmet without staff commitment, collaboration, and collegiality.
Project ACHIEVE Outcomes for this Component:
- Effective Professional Development for all Staff connected to the Strategic Planning Process
- Targeted In-Service Training followed by on-site Modeling, Practice and Feedback Opportunities, Technical Assistance and Consultation, and Systematic Transfer to Classroom Use
- Creation of a School-level Professional Development and Staff Support Committee
- Implementation of a New Staff Mentoring and On-going Staff Support process
- Training and Support in Co-Teaching, Collegial Consultation, and Clinical Supervision
- Training and Support in Integrating General and Special Education Instruction, Intervention, and Evaluation
- Implementation of a Leadership process involving the Training of Facilitators for Long-term Program Sustainability
Project ACHIEVE's Staff Development Goals
Project ACHIEVE provides the majority of its services on-site and from a whole-school perspective. While periodic conference calls, web-based trainings, and electronic consultations also are used, an ultimate goal is to provide professional development services that enhance staff skills, increase building capacity, and result in student outcomes.
To this end, Project ACHIEVE's professional development process focuses on three staff-related outcomes:
- Increases in Knowledge
- The Transfer of Knowledge into Classroom or School-relevant Skills
- The Increase of Staff Confidence, Independence, and Ability to Transfer Training to new Situations or Circumstances
Over time, Project ACHIEVE uses a Training of Facilitators process whereby skilled staff receiving training and supervision in how to implement various Project approaches, strategies, and interventions. From a professional development perspective, staff should not become dependent on Project ACHIEVE consultants. They should become independently skilled professionals who can then become consultants, in their own right, to others in their school and across their district.
Project ACHIEVE's Staff Development Process
Project ACHIEVE uses a Social Learning Theory approach to staff development. For any new skill, strategy, or intervention, the critical components used involve:
- Teaching the Skill
- Modeling the Skill--Eventually in the Classroom with Students
- Practicing the Skill with the Staff under Simulated, but Real-Life Circumstances
- Providing Feedback during the Practice Sessions
- Facilitating the Transfer of this Training into Classrooms in "Real Time" and building in additional support, consultation, and feedback
For example, when training staff in the Stop & Think Social Skills Program, the "professional development package" includes (a) in-service training; (b) Project ACHIEVE consultants modeling social skill lessons in actual classrooms (with teachers observing and receiving "debriefing" opportunities); (c) social skill practice opportunities for staff with feedback, reinforcement, and suggestions for improved outcomes; (d) guidelines and guidance for the systematic transfer of the training into actual practice in classrooms across the school; and (e) the development of a staff infrastructure to evaluate implementation over time, maintain the integrity of the implementation, and sustain the instruction over time.