Today’s Contributor: Michelle Settles
Michelle teaches Special Education in Austin, Texas. She enjoys international travel, and spending time with her husband Carl and dog Chloe. Michelle is in her second year as CIC, and enjoys helping teachers creatively weave technology into their practice.
The 2018-2019 school year has brought a renewed focus on BLEND to our campus. Over the past few weeks, we have been working to establish our campus goals. Ultimately, we decided to use BLEND as a repository for all of our campus Professional Development. I’m hopeful that creating easy access to our PD materials is another small step in encouraging teachers to slowly adopt BLEND and its many functions. Additionally, this project serves as a reminder to our school that there is a local system and method in place for improving teaching and student learning that is aligned with our specific campus culture. Our professional development portfolio includes : Cultural Proficiency, Dual Language Implementation, Restorative Circles, Brighter Bites, Imagine Learning, Technology in the Classroom, and DMAC.
In my experience, professional development and its many resources are most effective when they occur in the context of my daily work, and in a setting where what I learn can be immediately applied. Having quick and easy access to relevant materials will surely help myself and other teachers analyze student achievement data during the course of a school day to more easily identify learning problems, develop solutions, and promptly apply those solutions and address students’ needs.
I believe we are taking a solid approach to improving our campus and feel enthusiastic it will produce positive benefits. Why? Because professional development is the primary strategy education systems use to strengthen educators’ performance levels, and can be especially effective in the context of a team. We are a team-driven campus. On a good team, teachers and school administration work together to use data to learn and understand what students are not learning and to find instructional gaps, then determine what they need to learn to help close those gaps. Team members then set out to learn what they need to know and how to improve. The end product is the creation of engagement, which results in a continuous cycle of improvement.
Wish us luck on our journey this year, as we delve into creating BLENDed learning for Professional Development!