2015 Professional Development Team

Ensuring learning and growth on both sides of the classroom

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I trust your Summer is off to an amazing start!

Several team members and I met with the admin team to discuss their expectations for professional development and how it fits with our goals and objectives. I am happy to report that the conversation proved fruitful and I am more than excited about the plan for the upcoming school year. We can wait to discuss the finer points of what we covered during our August meeting (Date TBD). I've included some of the more broad stroke details below. Please read through at your leisure, but please don't read this during your leisure.

Enjoy your Summer!

See you soon,


2015 PD Team Goals and Objectives

In a nutshell our job as a team is to provide means for professional growth and support to ensure that that growth takes place. Reflecting on the great work that we did last year, I think we hit the target in terms of providing means, but I'm not sure we were effective regarding support. I believe that our colleagues truly enjoyed most if not all of the sessions we offered last year, but there was not enough support put in place on our and admin's end to make sure those conversations and dialogues lasted beyond the 8:15 or 4:30 bells.

This year I would like to place emphasis on what it is we're doing between our monthly sessions. I thought of three possible solutions to aid us in extending the conversations and growth spurred by our sessions.

  1. I'm in the process of creating a website for us to archive the various resources we present over the course of the year and serve as an easily accessible location for our colleagues to find answers to the easier questions they may have.
  2. Bi-monthly newsletters (such as this one) that highlight helpful resources and strategies related to the following areas (plus whatever suggestions you all have): engagement, technology, differentiation, RIGOR classroom examples, and staff feedback.
  3. For the teachers that are so inclined I am also creating a professional learning platform where they can reflect and document the ways they are applying what they're learning as a result of our efforts. This will also better inform us about how we are supporting growth. Administration has said this can supplement TKES evaluations.

If you have any suggestions regarding what we can do in between our sessions please email me and let me know. Also, if you are interested in spearheading one of the above areas of the newsletter please let me know.

Stuff from the Meeting


This Summer Opie and several teachers have been working to further develop the use of PLCs at Riverwood. From what was discussed in our meeting, that team has been doing some really great work on improving buy-in among our teachers as well as clarifying what a PLC is and should be actively doing.

To assist in this endeavor each month at least one of the sessions we offer will be geared toward some aspect of helping PLCs function effectively. Additionally, during several months we're going to "strongly encourage" that members of course teams go to different sessions so that each comes back to course team meetings able to redeliver what they learned in their session.

The Admin plans on being more present during PLC meetings to evaluate the use of our PLC PD session strategies. They will then discuss what they're seeing during leadership meetings. Brittany Wood will serve as our PLC Liaison to report back to us so we can tweak what we're doing accordingly.


As can be inferred by the picture above, Rigor is going to be a major area of interest for us during the upcoming school year. During pre-planning rigor will be injected into every aspect of school preparation (Welcome Back Breakfast included). That being said, when we plan our sessions it is going to be imperative that we consider how the proposed session measures up to the admin's expectation and definition of rigor. I've included Dr. Shaw/Mr. Garrett's presentation from our May session to help everyone clarify what is meant by rigor.


A few days ago Dr. Shaw sent out an email soliciting any groups that wanted to be added to the time slots for pre-planning so they can plan and send out the schedule for our first day back (Tuesday, August 4th). We've been given the entire afternoon to deliver PD sessions. Usually people will have the ability to choose their sessions, but this time we're going to do it differently. There will be 5 sessions the first of which is for the entire faculty and mandatory. After the initial session each member will be given a schedule of sessions that will follow created by their department chairs. I have included an outline of the sessions we're going to offer and the point people for each session. I've linked the emails to their names so if you want to assist in them please reach out.

  1. Updated Roles of PLCs at Riverwood (Mandatory for all faculty) Brittany Wood
    Offered: 1:30pm-2:00pm

  2. Lesson Planning and Admin Expectations (Mandatory for some) Dr. Shaw
    Offered: 2:05pm-2:30pm

  3. Defining Rigor ( By DC choice) Mr. Garrett
    Offered: 2:05pm-2:30pm; 2:35pm-3:00pm; 3:05pm-3:30pm

  4. Connecting the Dots Between Scope & Sequence and Lesson Plans (By DC choice) Anna Swafford, Kris Hale & Dana Munson
    Offered: 2:05pm-2:30pm; 2:35pm-3:00pm; 3:05pm-3:30pm

  5. Rigorous Instructional Strategies (By DC choice) Mary Ellen Graves & Sandra Bradley
    Offered: 2:05pm-2:30pm; 2:35pm-3:00pm; 3:05pm-3:30pm

Monthly PD Themes

Below you will find the monthly PD themes as decided upon in our planning meeting. For the most part the themes are set in stone, but the sessions offered each month can be changed.

Note: There will be NO PD sessions offered in December, April, or May due to grades, testing, and limited post-planning days. Additionally we have not assigned themes for the months of February and March to allow flexible for needs as they arise.

  1. September: Assessment

    1. Suggested Session Topics:

      1. Aligning Assessments to Standards (not optional to some)

      2. Creating Common Assessments

      3. Upping the Rigor in Assessments

      4. Discussing Data from Assessments

  2. October: Differentiation

    1. Suggested Session Topics:

      1. Flexible Grouping

      2. Learning Styles

      3. Pre-Assessments

      4. Collaborative Teaching

      5. Additional Assessment Strategies

  3. November: Instructional Strategies

    1. Suggested Session Topics:

      1. Teaching for Excellence

      2. TAG

  4. December: Professional Development & Admin Teams convene to reflect on 1st semester and to further plan 2nd semester

  5. January: Data, Differentiation & Responsive Strategies

    1. Suggested Session Topics:

      1. Grade Norming Based on Assessments

In Conclusion

I recently saw this video when trying to learn a little bit more about PLCs. I think it really does sum up our team goals and objectives in relation to the admin's expectations of PLCs. Even though the video comes from down under, I think the points made in it ring true for Riverwood as well.

Looking forward to working with you all!

Short version - Professional Learning Animation AITSL