Williamsville Central School District

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Professional Development

The Role of Professional Development

 The purpose of professional development in the Williamsville School District is to support educators to help all students meet or exceed State and local standards and to support their character development. Our professional development model is constantly undergoing revisions to meet the needs of our staff and to reflect the research-based professional development practices that are most likely to result in teacher effectiveness and student learning.

Paradigm Shift in Professional Development

From Too Much
To More

Focus on individual development

Focus on individual and system development

Transmission of knowledge, skills, and strategies

Inquiry into teaching and learning

“Pull-out” training

Job-embedded learning

Generic teaching skills

Combination of content and content-specific teaching skills

Fragmented, piece-meal, one shot

Driven by clear, coherent, long-term strategic plan

District direction and decision making

School direction and decision making

Professional developers as trainers

Professional developers as facilitators, consultants, and planners

Professional development as some people’s jobs

Professional development as everyone’s job

Professional development for teachers

Professional development for everyone

Professional development as a “frill”

Professional Development as essential

Source: Adapted from ”Shifting the paradigm of Professional Development” by Susan Loucks-Horsley and Dennis Sparks. Developed for the Goals 2000 Conference, Washington, DC, May 1994

The value of professional development as an integral part of systems development can best be described by these words:

“To be fulfilled and productive, all individuals need to grow throughout their lives and the health of any organization depends upon, in part, the growth of the people working within it. In education, where the focus is on the development of individual’s potential and self realization, staff members, building administrators, and the Board of Education are dedicated primarily to students’ growth; yet this commitment extends to encouraging the growth of adults who work within the schools. To understand students, to serve as their models and guides, and to increase our professional skills, we must remain students. To foster learning, we must continue to learn and teachers especially must remain acutely aware of how learning occurs and how it can be encouraged. In this way, we can be assured that we are serving students well.”

Source: Rye School District, National Staff Development Conference Presentation, December, 1996