Posts Tagged ‘ ppgp ’

The Principal, Teachers, Technology and PD.


Leading Your Staff cclicensed flickr image courtesy of Thorne Enterprises

A principal has an overwhelming amount of tasks to complete on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.   From discipline, facility and student needs, staffing and who knows how many others, the job can be exhausting at the best of times.  Over the past couple of years, I began to think more about teacher professional development and how I could help my staff.  Since I became a principal very early in my career, I did not put this aspect of administration at the forefront of my duties. Most likely because I was overwhelmed with the overall learning curve of school administration and all the associated tasks.  Then add-on a significant teaching load, where I had many new courses to deliver.  Lately though, I have thought a great deal about how I could help my teachers better themselves and in turn increase learning for our students.

Two of my more recent reads include What Great Principals and Great Teachers Do Differently, both books by Todd Whitaker.   One common theme denotes how principal’scannot choose their people entirely, so an administrator is left with two choices:

1.  Hire great teachers (when you get the opportunity) and

2. Make the ones you have better.

The second strategy is one I feel can be ignored for a variety of reasons.  It’s especially tough for younger administrators to feel comfortable helping more senior staff in the area of professional development, unless the admin. has a real comfort zone in a particular area.   While an administrator cannot be knowledgeable in every subject area or strategy, they can be great support people.  For this year, I have made it my admin. goal to help teachers get better.

How can an administrator then help teachers with meaningful PD?  I find the use of division based PD only scratches the surface and does not translate into the classroom very often.  I think our school division has taken notice of this and has really stepped up to provide meaningful PD for its teachers.  The alignment of sessions that promote division initiatives and teacher choice can translate for better learning opportunities for students in a significant way.

The use of growth plans (PPGP’s) are beneficial to both teachers and school administrators.   Here teacher choice (for growth) and alignment with a schools Learning Improvement Plan can translate into some wonderful learning opportunities for students.

How does one go about this?  Again the use of the growth plan is key with the administrator supporting the process.  This year our staff is using growth plans as stated below:

1.  Teachers pick one area for growth and set their goal.

2.  We have a common technology goal as a staff.

As principal, I meet with each teacher and discuss their plan, how they will achieve their goal and how I can support them.  In #2, we are using a common technology goal for two reasons:

1. To increase each staff members technological literacy level.

2.  To provide a framework for consistent PD in their choice area.

For #2, we started the year with teachers learning about Google Reader and Twitter.  My goal was to help them get a framework (Google Reader) so they could build a network (Twitter) and obtain resources to help them achieve their goals.  There is a great deal of follow-up with each staff member, but overall rewards can be significant.  My hope is that technology can help each staff member with their own personal goal in the PPGP, and that tech. will help them in future years as well.

Supports for PPGP’s and technology include division consultants and our TLT teacher .  I want to use them more this year in the area of teacher growth and find these people can be a valuable resource as well.

There  are many other methods one can use to help teachers become better educators, this is just my plan for this school year.  As administrators we encourage teachers to take risks, and we should follow suit.  The plan (for PPGP’s)  I have outlined here was also done in collaboration with my staff.  It is my job to keep communicating and supporting my teachers in any way possible.

As always I welcome your input.

Common Goals, Technology Advancement, and Staff Development.


I have been deliberating many things as we prepare for the start of the school year.  One of these items has been advancing the technological literacy of my staff.

With so much social media available, how does one prepare their staff to advance their technological skills commonly?  In many instances, teachers investigate technology on their own, developing a unique skill set.  What then happens is you have staff all over the map in terms of technological literacy.  Combine this with the technological change factor, and you have inconsistency in how technology is applied in classrooms.  School’s can plan specific PD sessions to develop the technology skills of teachers, but this can be very time-consuming.

I feel we need to develop our staff’s technology skills to a higher degree.  I believe my staff want to improve their literacy levels as well.  The best way to improve technology skills, I believe (at this time), is to develop a PLN.

If staff develop and use their own PLN, their technology skills and literacy can improve immensely.  They have for me. 

 So, how do we do this?  I think the plan may look like this:

1.  Use the tools available to us.  The school based PD session at the beginning of the year will be devoted to creating a PLN.  I have messed around with the idea of having a session before teachers officially return as well but that is to be determined.  If we did the latter, the school based time during start-up provides teachers with more time to investigate one or two areas of interest, read blogs, etc.

2.  Common PPGP goals regarding technology:  Each year our teachers need to state one or two personal/professional goals.  When reviewing these plans with staff,  I find most teachers have no problem stating one major area of focus.  However, a second goal (for some) is more difficult.  Probably, because their first goal is significant.   The principal can then help with the second goal.

So let’s take advantage of this opportunity.  Since most teachers want to increase their technology literacy, let’s use the PPGP to our advantage and have a common technology goal.  I am not saying we do everything EXACTLY.  Maybe our commonality is creating the PLN?  From there, teachers have more autonomy to delve into their personal and professional interest areas.  If we all have a PLN, the structure is created to improve technological  literacy from within.  Specialists may develop in certain areas, and that can help with staff PD in the future. 

If we create the framework for self-improvement with a common focus, teachers can use technology to a much higher degree in their classrooms.  I hope this would then develop into more specific, curriculum goals that will improve learning.

I suppose this is also why I wanted to do a session with our admin. group as well.   Help to develop peers and collaborate, then work to improve your school.

Let’s get started…