The district takes great pride in acquiring input from the teachers to aid in the creation of meaningful professional development. The process began with a survey developed by the professional development committee that was distributed to all teachers. The survey was designed to ascertain the professional development needs of our teachers as well as the names of teachers willing to facilitate specific workshops. We realized that by allowing teachers to become stakeholders in the planning and teaching of professional development workshops, staff has become more responsive to implementing the district initiative and additional professional development topics, methodologies, strategies, and programs. We have found great success in using these surveys, and plan to continue using them in the future.
Teacher input through the use of these surveys, as well as faculty meetings, grade level meetings, department meetings and Professional Learning Community (PLC) requests, led to the development of the district's professional development booklet. This booklet of workshops was posted on the district website. In addition to our district initiative Phase program, this year's offerings included Writers' Workshop, Web 2.0 Applications, SchoolWires and specific content area workshops. Along with the options in our professional development booklet, a plethora of professional development opportunities occurred at grade level meetings, department head meetings, faculty meetings and PLC's. As a result of our success in structuring our professional development opportunities in this way, we will continue with this process.
The fundamental challenge of implementing professional development continued to be articulating long- and short-range professional development goals and ensuring that planned activities empower teachers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. An additional challenge was providing workshops and ongoing supports within the classroom that would help teachers become comfortable with new technologies. We continue to be responsive to 21st Century Skills and new mandates required by the NJ Department of Education.