New Providence School District's Professional Development ProgramNPSD Professional Development Program ObjectivesA crucial part of our professional development success is the realization that, as a district, we need to keep moving forward by understanding our students – the way they think, the challenges they will face, what they will need to learn, and ultimately, the best ways for them to learn.Members of the New Providence School community have found that the most successful professional development opportunities integrate topics relevant to teachers – give them time to collaborate, time for individual work, and provide ongoing support. Our professional development program mirrors the optimum learning environment we want to provide for our students. Our professional development programs, and the district's commitment to work within a philosophy of collaboration and support in order to establish a district-wide community in which all members have a voice, and learning moves forward.District Phase Initiative - Ongoing since 2007Our Phase initiative continues to be the centerpiece of New Providence professional development. Three years ago the district embarked upon this new instructional initiative. Each year, a cohort of teachers was selected to be a part of this Phase initiative. Now well into Phase 4, we are continuing the emphasis on strong, standards-based instruction within a setting that engages students and addresses the variations in learning styles, interests, and abilities. The Phase program provides faculty with professional development in Understanding by Design (UbD), Differentiated Instruction (DI), and 21st Century Learning. Last year's professional development improved curriculum planning in all subject areas. Through professional development training, teachers have been implementing more authentic tasks and performances within the classroom setting.
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.Check out the Technology Resources Page