Monday, March 03, 2014

MNPS Initiates "PD of the Future" with MNPS All-Stars Training

Roughly 6,000 public school teachers will all be consistently exposed to a rigorous online self-paced course in Blackboard over the remainder of Spring semester and through the summer. In all schools in the district this week and ongoing, All-Star "Lead Learners" are introducing this program to their full-time certificated charges of 50 or fewer teachers along with the District expectation that they complete it by what I like to call "August the Oneth."

For the first time in my own 4 year employment with Metro, every single teacher will be on the same page with important concepts, policies, and resources--including Education 2018 (MNPS's plan "to become the highest performing school district in the nation by 2018"),  Common Core State Standards, PARCC testing, District hardware and software, Response to Instruction and Intervention, Teaching for Understanding, and what the district is calling it's "Lever of Change," Personalized Learning.

Ever since I heard David Warlick speak for the first time, likely around 1996 or 1997, I have been on board with the concepts underlying this change. I honestly never thought I would hear support for it coming from any administration. I couldn't even really get support for it in the private school sector. It seemed idealistic and revolutionary. Do you know why? it IThis, my friends, is huge.

I was lucky to have been chosen as one of those Lead Learners and to have undergone a two day training at Martin Professional Development Center last month. When I heard our Assistant Superintendent Jay Steele explain that he believed that there was still to be too much testing going on but "that's the world we live in," even that element glimmered with hope for the future. All through the training, my dear friend Dr. Kecia Ray, Executive Director of Learning Technology and current President of ISTE, and others reminded us that we were blazing new trails and emphasized that any new ideas we had for improvement would be heard and acted upon if deemed appropriate. Again, this is a public school district, the largest in the state, serving well over 80,000 students in an amazingly culturally diverse county, with demographic and socio-economic statistics that should scare anyone attempting to do the right thing by all its constituents. I'll throw one at you: "72% Economically Disadvantaged." You can see them all here.

Expect to hear more about this. We are on the move. I'm proud to be a small part of it.

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