If you were asked to describe the best professional learning experience you have ever had, what would you say? Would you say it fit your needs perfectly? Would you say you were provided with individualized considerations? Would you say you were able to take the experience and share it with your colleagues? Would you say it helped you to foster a community of practice in your school? Or would you say it promoted new learning? If your professional learning description included those components then it suggests that you’ve been a part of an experience with the practices most relevant to building professional capacity.
Professional learning done can open the path for teachers to change their behaviors, which leads to better student outcomes. Best of all, it allows teachers to have a positive attitude change. At AIMS we strive to improve and deliver the best possible professional learning we can. Districts and schools may even use government Title II funds to pay for professional development offered by AIMS. Title II funds are intended to increase the number of high-quality, effective teachers and principals. Funds can be used for a variety of purposes, from recruiting and retaining teachers, to reducing class sizes or providing professional development.
I learned from Stephanie Hirsh, Learning Forward’s Executive Director that the certainty of Title II funds being part of a public school district’s budget is in jeopardy. One of Stephanie’s recent blog posts states, “Congress passed ESSA with a vision for public education that ensures equity and excellence for all students. Educators need sustained, classroom-focused professional development as redefined in ESSA to achieve that vision. Without Title II funds the achievement gaps will increase and the teacher shortage will become more pronounced.”
What can you do? Be proactive, and find out what Title II funds are used for in your school and district. Ask what would happen if those funds were cut, and what the impact of that happening would be. Next, I encourage you to advocate for the Title II funds continuing to be available. Write and phone your congressman and senators to share a story of impact about your school because Title II funds were used. Or, better yet, invite your congressman and senators to make a back to school visit during their August recess and show them how Title II dollars are being spent to make education awesome at your school. Both you and your students are worth it.
Last Friday morning at the Marriot Conference Center in Denver, Colorado, I found myself at the Superman-themed table introducing myself to six other educators who would become my new teammates. I had never met any of them prior to that day. I was there, along with three of my other colleagues from the AIMS Center,… Continue Reading
Some of the most common requests the AIMS Professional Learning division is called upon to help a schools or districts with are: To help teachers close student learning gaps. To help teachers change instructional practices helping their students to learn and achieve at higher levels. To help teachers have a deeper level of understanding about… Continue Reading
My first visit to Yosemite National Park happened last weekend. I was absolutely wowed by the park as I marveled at the landscapes. Somewhat surprisingly, I also came away professionally inspired and energized. As I thought about the history of Yosemite, and the awesome natural environment I was in, I found myself making comparisons. I… Continue Reading
New York non-public school educators came together last week at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York for three days of AIMS hands-on Science Professional Learning. I was lucky enough to be there in person to spend time with all of the participants and our team of AIMS Facilitators. There were three different grade span… Continue Reading
Do you think of summer as a time to grow and learn? Being an educator, I have always filled my summers with adult learning opportunities. Summer is my time to refresh and reboot and learn new and and exciting approaches to every new school year. This week I have the opportunity to be with three… Continue Reading
One of my goals when I started teaching was to create an inquiry-based science classroom for my students. To do that I used hands on science activities through which students could develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists studied the natural world. Much of the time, I… Continue Reading
Children ran from school buses with shrieks of excitement and expectations of what the next two and a half months might bring, the telltale sign that school is out for the summer in my town. Teachers have left their classrooms for a well-deserved break. Over the next two and half months they will imagine, think… Continue Reading
Fidget spinners have suddenly become one of the hottest topics in education right now. They are the current craze with students all over the United States. Touted as a low-tech toy, they are perceived as being either helpful or harmful, depending who you ask. Countless articles, blogs, podcasts, interviews, etc. can be found each day… Continue Reading
I just read a good article about teaching students to collaborate, and just last week I shared some thoughts about students and collaboration. For three decades or more we have been working on being better at teaching students to collaborate, as well as working to be better at it ourselves. Regardless of where we are… Continue Reading