Professional Learning



Vision for Professional Learning
The Baldwin County school system has a vision for everyone in the school system becoming an active learner focused on student achievement.  The vision is for optimal, “high quality” professional learning occurring in all schools where faculty and staff function as learning communities. 

Mission for Professional Learning
To transform the professional learning program of the Baldwin County School System into a comprehensive professional learning process that is school-based, results focused and driven by action research conducted by teachers and administrators.  Every decision concerning professional learning in this process will be made with STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT as the goal. 

Strategies or Approaches for Professional Learning
Decisions about professional learning should be influenced by these critical questions:

  1. What is the improvement goal of the school?
  2. What do teachers need to learn to achieve the goal?
  3. How will the learning be supported?
  4. How will the implementation of the learning be monitored?

Menu of Approaches

  •       Whole Faculty Study Groups

  •       Professional Inquiry

  •       Curriculum Development

  •       Action Research

  •       Analysis of student data

  •       Examination of student work

  •       Development of scoring assessments

  •       Coaching and mentoring 

Definition of Study Group
A study group is a professional development context for developing expertise in improving student learning.  Methods and processes implemented in a well-designed and properly coordinated effort provide a vehicle for school change. The process itself is a management system for bringing about major change and improvement of student learning. For a study group to be successful, it has to have boundaries.  Those include

  •       Specific investigation or topic

  •       Purposeful way to investigate the topic

  •       Specific expectations for group members

  •       Specific facilitator

  •       Specific time to meet

Why “Whole Faculty” Study Groups?
Whole Faculty Study Groups means ALL: all administrators, all classroom teachers, all resource teachers, all special area teachers, librarian, counselor, and anyone else holding professional certification is included in study groups.  In forming WFSGs the faculty goes through a process of analyzing student and school data to identify student needs that study groups will address.  When the needs are determined, groups form based on these needs. Each study group then determines what its members will do when their group meets to address a specific student need. Most often, this means examining what will enable teachers to effectively use new and refined instructional practices and materials in the classroom to impact student learning. 

Guiding Principles

  •       Students are our first consideration

  •       Everyone participates

  •       Leadership is shared

  •       Responsibility is equal

  •       The work is public 

Functions of Whole Faculty Study Group

Most often, these functions occur simultaneously:

  •       Targeting a school wide instructional need

  •       Studying the research on teaching and learning

  •       Giving coherence to existing instructional programs and practices

  •       Developing deeper understanding of academic content

  •       Supporting implementation of curricular and instructional initiatives

  •       Monitoring the impact of instructional initiatives on students

  •       Examining student work together 

Major Strengths
The most obvious strength of whole faculty study groups is the professional support and encouragement teachers give each other routinely. With strong leadership from the principal and strong school wide sponsorship, study groups take on an additional sense of importance. Student achievement is very positively impacted through this vehicle for change.  The principal’s support and pressure are positive forces for action and success. Change will most often happen because some pressure has built up to the point that it leads to action.

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