Continual professional development (PD) is a core component of our school improvement process. Professional growth is necessary to provide the best learning experiences and opportunities for the students of Wyoming Indian Schools. All staff are invited to participate in a variety of staff development opportunities, that revolve around:
Content knowledge - may include knowledge specific to an academic subject area for teachers and paraprofessionals or background knowledge relevant to non-teaching positions (like bus drivers, cooks, custodians, administrators).
General pedagogical knowledge - includes instructional strategies, classroom management strategies, and intervention strategies.
Contextual knowledge - includes basic understanding of students and their community, as well as Native American culture, language, history, and traditions.
Types of Professional Development
Research has shown that professional development must be on-going, sustained, and job-embedded in order to be effective (see Figure 1). In addition, staff must receive meaningful feedback.
FCSD#14 provides a wide range of professional development opportunities throughout the school year designed to promote effective implementation of skills in and out of the classroom:
In-Service Days - Used to build shared knowledge; provided by outside consultants or in-house specialists; includes Native American Education in-service days organized by Culture Mentors.
Workshops or Conferences - Includes regional, state, or national conferences on content, pedagogy, or context.
Friday afternoon PD - Provided by in-house staff or outside consultants. After presentation of theory and/or modeling, staff try implementing a strategy and meet repeatedly to share outcomes and to give and receive support from peers.
Instructional Rounds - May be real time or virtual; teachers discuss instructional practices observed and plan how to improve on those strategies.
Instructional Strategy Share-outs - Staff share tips and techniques, model strategies, and provide resources to help with lesson and unit planning. Topics include Native American culture, instructional strategies, technology in the classroom, data conferencing, team meeting procedures, etc. Instructional staff deepen knowledge of the FCSD #14 Instructional Model and sharpen pedagogical practice through collaborative conversation.
Mentor Programs - Includes new staff mentoring program and a Culture mentor program.
Classroom Coaching - Each individual teacher uses a selected element from the Instructional Model to improve upon for the year. Teachers study the selected Marzano element’s scale and general behaviors. Teachers and coaches work collaboratively to practice, reflect on, and improve implementation of the selected element. Teachers work on an element until they demonstrate level 3 or above application.
Walkthrough Observations & Feedback - Principals observe classroom instruction and provide feedback to staff.
Academic/Grade-Level/Administrative teams - Participate in collaborative scholarship on topics or strategies identified by the individual team in order to improve instruction, use of data, leadership, etc. May take the form of on-line PD, book studies, modeling, in-house or outside consultants, webinars, etc.
Individual PD - Independent scholarship on a topic relevant to current needs of the staff member. May take the form of on-line PD, book studies, videos, in-house or outside consultants, webinars, networking, etc.