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GAPSS PART A

Professional Learning Current Reality and GAPSS Review


Jeremy Easley
PL & Technology Innovation (ITEC 7460)
Kennesaw State University
Ed.S. Instructional Technology, Spring 2015

Part A: Professional Learning Current Reality

GAPSS PART A

Vision
Darlington County Adult Education strives to assist adults in the completion of a
secondary education, become lifelong learners, obtain authentic knowledge and skills necessary
for employment and self-sufficiency, and assist parents in obtaining the educational skills
necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children (2014). The
goals for Darlington Adult Education do not express the need for technology integration in the
classroom. Although the teachers are encouraged to use new and innovative methods, the
integration of technology is not promoted more than any other method. Director Chuck Miller
acknowledges the benefits to using technology in education, but various factors prevent a mass
technology roll out of integration. A vast majority of students who attend class at DAE lack the
basic computer skills to use current technology software and tools. To get these students
comfortable with using technology on a regular basis, they would have to spend instructional
time learning how to use search engines, bookmarking pages, saving documents, retrieving saved
documents, and other basic computer skills.
Currently, every teacher that works for DAE is provided with a laptop and a projector.
Teachers are able to show powerpoint presentations, video clips, and examples of acceptable
student work. These tools have proven to be effective techniques for most teachers. There are
also two computer labs with 30 computers in each lab. Students are able to work independently
on GED practice websites and teachers often take their students to the lab to practice typing and
website navigation.
The Director admits that DAE does not have an ideal model for technology integration
and he would love to make changes. Unfortunately, there are other circumstances at work that

GAPSS PART A

make it difficult. Right now the primary concerns are on how to get most of the students to attend
classes regularly. More than half of DAE students miss class regularly. DAE has class sessions
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning and evening. Students are required attend a
morning or evening session. There are some students that miss weeks at a time and when they
return, they are put in the position to pick up whatever the teacher is covering. A big part of the
directors vision, is find a way to boost student attendance and retention. It is also safe to say that
there isnt a set vision for technology integration yet. Teachers are free to use any method they
can to best serve their students.

Needs Assessment
To begin the school year, Mr. Miller gives the faculty a survey to see what he can do to
help them serve the students. This survey helps teachers express their needs, wants, and
suggestions for the upcoming school year. The surveys are a formal way for the director to have
an idea of what teachers would like. Even though the surveys are one way for teachers to voice
their opinions, Mr. Miller has an open door policy where teachers feel free to talk to him at any
time about their concerns and suggestions.

Professional Development
For the past three years, the entire faculty of DAE has attended a professional learning
weekend hosted by The College of Charleston. These sessions are held the last weekend in May
and after the schools are out for summer break. The conference covers various topics that
teachers would find useful in the classroom. There are sessions that cover Web 2.0 tools,
technology hardware, and assistive technology devices. All teachers are encouraged to attend all

GAPSS PART A

sessions that have anything to do with educational technology. DAE isnt known for being a hub
for instructional technology, but some adult education students are receptive to technology tools,
so it is beneficial to master as many techniques as possible. After the conference, teachers have
the opportunity to take what they have learned and research different techniques and best
practices that they learned. After researching what other experts have published, most teachers
take this opportunity to plan for the upcoming school year.
As of right now, the only faculty development opportunity that is available, is the
Charleston conference. Although it does sound unreasonable to attend only one faculty
development for the entire school year, there is an explanation for it. All teachers that work for
DAE are part time. During the day, 85% of the faculty work at a standard grade school. These
teachers participate in other professional development through their other schools. But what
about teachers that dont work for another school? Some teachers teach morning and evening
sessions and dont have staff development needs met through DAE. To assist these teachers, they
are able to collaborate with teachers from other DAE sites once a month. During these sessions,
the director addresses the staff about new developments in adult education and GED testing.
After the general meeting, teachers are encouraged to meet with other content area teachers to
discuss successes and the areas of teaching that need improvement. These collaborations also
help teachers support one another as they look to improve their teaching in certain areas of their
teaching.

Alignment to School Improvement


Darlington County School District is working toward using the Teacher Effective
Framework. Every grade school in the county sends their teachers to staff development sessions

GAPSS PART A

that go into to great detail about TEF. The Teacher Effectiveness Framework (TEF) is a
comprehensive framework that helps you go beyond compliance to turn evaluations into
meaningful experiences that lead to teacher growthand increased student achievement. TEF is
built around the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standardsthe teaching standards of choice for
19 of the top 25 education programs in the US (TEF). The director is familiar with the benefits
that TEF has for schools in the county. His is especially impressed with a tool named Edivation.
Edivation, the new PD 360, is an on-demand professional learning resource that creates a highly
personalized learning experience for all of your educators, helping them improve their practice
and, in turn, raise student achievement (2015). For professional learning to be truly effective, it
needs to meet a teachers daily needsand thats exactly what Edivation does. It offers a
personalized experience for every teacher; it delivers thousands of the best resources that can be
tailored to your teachers interests and needs; and its easy to use (2015). He suggested that I read
some of the testimonials written by education leaders who have used TEF in the state.

Reflection is a critical part of effective learning. Responding to PD 360


reflection questions through the use of a journal encourages teachers to become
more reflective learners and practitioners.
Campus administrators and teachers find that the online learning approach
through PD 360 lends itself to individualization and customization of learning
and professional growth.
When considering the more appropriate and cost-effective methods for
addressing the diverse needs of certified personnel and campus administrators, I
certainly would advocate for the purchase and use of PD 360. In fact, I strongly

GAPSS PART A

recommend it as the initial purchase or replacement of other approaches to


systematic professional development. This is an investment that pays great
dividends relative to enhanced content knowledge of teachers, improved
classroom practices, and ultimately increased student success! (2015)
The goal of district officials is for all grade schools in the county to use Edivate. This programs
supplies teachers with daily support, as well as continued support throughout the school year.
Funding
Darlington Adult Education is funded by the school district. The way DAE gains funding
is by based on student performance. Every time a student improves in achievement level, DAE
receives more funding. This funding is in addition to the initial budget that is set at the beginning
of the year. The funding is used to pay teachers, textbooks and workbooks for students, teacher
supplies, and limited teacher technology tools.

Evaluation
Mr. Miller conducts regular biweekly observations of the teachers effectiveness in the
classroom. The observations usually last between 30-45 minutes long. He uses the Teacher
Effective Framework for his observations. Because the school has a unique situation, he is not
able to use all the categories in the framework, so he sticks mainly to the categories that pertain
to the classroom. After each evaluation, Mr. Miller, meets with each teacher and provides verbal
and written feedback.

References

GAPSS PART A

Darlington Adult Education: School Improvement Plan 2014-2015 (2014). Darlington, South
Carolina: Darlington Public Schools.
Knight, J. (2007). Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Teacher Effectiveness Framework (2015)
http://p1cdn4static.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_3649979/File/TeacherEffectivenes
sFramework_ProductBook_121713.pdf