Path to Professional Development
I wondered why more teachers did not take advantage of the Professional Development that NapaLearns offered. I asked if Professional Development could provide the path to greater cohesion across each grade level and achieve collective teacher efficacy that John Hattie noted as having the greatest effect size. I wondered why the Professional Development required through Napa Valley Unified School District was not embraced by some teachers. Initially, I sought out Professional Development to improve my teaching and learn new ways that would aid me in achieving a better work-life balance. Then when the pandemic required shelter-in-place I saw how necessary Professional Development was to navigating distance learning. I observed three different models of delivering Professional Development to educators. The Workshop model was updated during COVID19 to an online e-learning lab provided on Zoom. A newly formed grade-level Community of Practice was made possible by utilizing the Zoom platform. And the Professional Learning Community required all teachers in a given grade level at an elementary school site to participate in weekly meetings to collaborate and communicate to support students and analyze student achievement data. Prior to my joining NVUSD in 2015, teachers were trained in the PLC model. While I participated in the PLC, it was a new format to me. These questions led me to center my action research project on Professional Development.
My study focused on the California Standards for the Teaching Profession 6.3 Teachers Collaborate with colleagues and the broader professional community to support teacher and student learning. The study's purpose was to compare participation in three professional development models:
While the pandemic created many challenges, this study would not have been possible without Zoom’s online platform. Zoom had to scale up very quickly to accommodate education. I have been very impressed with Zoom’s ability to meet the needs of classroom teachers over the last 14 months. Having been in a meeting that was Zoom-bombed early in the pandemic, I was very grateful that Zoom fixed that vulnerability, and it never happened again. Luckily, it was a professional development meeting where only adults were present.
Google Workspace for Education (formerly G-Suite for Education) provided tools that I had previously used in my classroom but were necessary for distance learning. Tools like Slides, Jamboard, Google docs, and sheets worked in my Google Classroom to connect us online. These tools promoted teacher collaboration as well.
Check out the links on the side of the page to get a more in-depth look at each of the Professional Development Models I studied.