Better teachers and improved student performance go hand in hand. Investing in educator career development lays the foundation for attracting and retaining top teachers, which ultimately leads to students getting the best possible opportunity to reach their highest potential.
But many districts find that their professional development programs fall short. Poor course planning, a lack of goal tracking and accountability, and a clunky, dated user interface can tank any effort to drive growth.
Since professional development is key to building the strength of a K-12 district, doing it right is vital. Supercharge your program with edtech that offers goal-tracking and supervisor course recommendations in a user-friendly, interactive interface that eliminates technical hurdles.
If your district’s professional development program has been underperforming, it’s time for an upgrade. Here are four ways PowerSchool can help:
Make the most of teacher evaluations
Teacher evaluations can be a powerful tool for professional development. Used correctly, evaluations provide the clearest feedback for educators and allows them to ask direct questions about their score. Evaluations can also be used to help administrators build personalized course plans targeted to each individual’s needs.
But it’s hard to accomplish all of that with a clipboard and a pencil. PowerSchool Unified Talent Perform is designed to help districts make the most of teacher evaluations. Administrators can deliver instant feedback to teachers, giving them the chance to ask questions while the experience is still fresh. Since all forms are stored online, administrators can do it all from a tablet.
Perform also makes it easy to build professional development plans from teacher evaluations. Comal Independent School District in Texas is doing this to great effect. Executive Director of Human Resources and Customer Service Mandy Epley said, “We look at the evaluation data in Perform so the principal can say, ‘I need you to complete this course in Comal U because this is the area in your evaluation where you had the most room to improve.’”
Building personalized professional development plans using evaluation data focuses on the biggest opportunities for learning and reduces frustration stemming from teachers not understanding why they’re being asked to complete a course.
Serve up customized content for efficient learning
Professional development interfaces should be easy to navigate, well organized, and reliable. PowerSchool Unified Talent Professional Learning lets administrators create customized course options for each educator, so they don’t waste any time searching for content. Educators log in and immediately see the information they need about progress and assigned courses. They don’t have to search for resources or directions.
Courses can be offered based on staff demographics and educator development needs. This helps districts operate more efficiently by using a single streamlined platform to distribute content to every educator in the district, from first-year elementary teachers to veteran high school AP instructors.
Look for customizable Professional Learning content that adapts to a K-12 district’s unique needs, this is key when using teacher evaluations to drive professional development decisions for individual teachers.
Track goals, issue badges, and create a community
Engagement might be the biggest stumbling block for districts struggling to get their professional development program off the ground. Without built-in incentives to get educators engaged, it’s easy for untracked development goals to start gathering dust. After a while, they get forgotten altogether.
Professional Learning makes tracking progress easy. Educators see their personalized professional development playlist upon logging in. They always know what their next step will be. Educators earn micro-badges as sections are completed, giving them clear confirmation that they’ve passed, and adding a gamification to the system designed to keep drawing users back for another session.
Set up Professional Learning Communities to enable peer-to-peer communication within the system. Adding social engagement allows users to help and encourage each other, as well as offering an additional incentive to log in and take the next course.
Get professional development on track
If you’re not happy with your professional development program, now is the time to upgrade. PowerSchool solutions like Perform and Professional Learning work together to give K-12 districts the tools they need to launch a successful professional development program.
These systems are being used by schools and districts around the world—imagine how online teacher evaluations, customized professional learning plans, and clear goal tracking would benefit your district. Teachers who feel that their career growth is being supported by their district not only become more effective teachers, they become incentivized to stay, adding to the overall strength of the district over time.
Now is the time to give your professional development program a boost with the right edtech solutions for improved classroom success.
To learn more about promoting teacher professional development, get our free eBook: The K-12 Administrator’s Guide to Professional Development
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