BLENDing Campus Professional Development


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!

8 Comments

  1. My questions as another Special Educator are: are you a elementary or secondary? and how are you using BLEND to address lower level skills that your students have not mastered?

    1. Elementary. I address their lower level skills by differentiating the lesson. In BLEND, you can adjust the settings with a simple click.

  2. It’s awesome to hear that someone else is trying to incorporate BLEND for Professional Development. What were some of the challenges that you encountered as you started this? Do you have any tips?

  3. I truly wish my campus was as enthusiastic as yours when it comes to PD. We’ve tried doing digital PD’s but very few people seem to complete them. Any tips for getting some momentum on campus? We would like to make it a viable option!

  4. We created a “Staff Hub” BLEND course for our BLEND related Staff Development at McCallum. It has been great. There is a Discussion where teachers can post questions, modules for each SD day, and a section for resources. I really like that there is a place that our teachers can refer to for these and sometimes questions from teachers prompt me to make a “how to” resource and where the version email out can get lost in our crazy inboxes, the one I post in the Staff Hub is easy to find all year long.

  5. We too use Blend for Professional Development. It’s a great way to get the information to the teachers as well as providing for those that were unable to attend, check understanding, and allow for feedback.

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