Not only are Dewey’s words as true today as when he spoke them, they also directly apply to all types of students – adult learners included. The essence of powerful professional learning lies in its level of agility to match the increasing levels of change and complexity in the learning environment. It means that just as teachers are charged with adapting to constantly changing demands in order to adequately prepare students for college and career at a much faster pace than ever before, our professional learning system is going to have to be just as agile as the teaching workforce. Mirroring Harvard’s three ‘justs’ of future learning, Pomona USD also aims to offer – just enough (resonant), just-in-time (relevant), and just-for-me (responsive) professional learning opportunities to all adult learners in our system.
Last school year, we were intentional with those small, yet critical shifts that will move our system beyond implementation into innovation. We began the much-needed reexamination of our professional development vision through our collaborative work as a part of CalTURN, evaluated some of our professional development systems for evidence of impact through Smarter School Spending (SSS), and engaged in an initial think-tank session with the Principal’s Advisory Council (PAC), just to name a few. Throughout the process, we kept our overall professional development vision at the forefront: to design and implement a highly coherent, innovative, district-wide professional learning system that is responsive to the differentiated needs of adult learners using a professional development model that honors the adult learners’ voice, choice, time, and professionalism, builds individual and collective efficacy, promotes deep organizational learning and sustainable optimal results that ultimately leads to high student achievement and college and career readiness for all students.
As we continue our professional learning focus on “system-ness”, we aggressively sought out and were successful in securing funds through Educator Effectiveness Block Grant (EEBG) to reestablish systems for teacher and leader effectiveness. Pomona USD’s EEBG, which was collaboratively developed with Associated Pomona Teachers (APT), and with unwavering commitment from our Superintendent, Board of Education and the Cabinet, continues to focus on support for new teachers via our accredited and redesigned PUSD Induction Program, as well as support for teachers who need improvement via our revived Peer Assistance and Review (PAR). EEBG also addresses the creation of our Professional Learning Communities (PLC) district-wide, upgrading of personalized and differentiated professional learning to increase teachers’ and leaders’ efficacy not only on the new academic standards, but more importantly, on leadership, mentoring, and coaching. Finally, the grant gave us the great opportunity to recently launch our very own Pomona Administrative Clear Credential Program (PACCP), a vision conceived into reality by our Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Baker. With the establishment of PACCP, Pomona USD is now authorized by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to grant professional administrative clear credential with mentoring, coaching, support, and high quality professional development offerings that will help develop visionary and transformational leadership through a program specifically tailored to the individual and unique needs of a masterful Pomona USD leader.
As we progress through the 2017-18 school year, we will continue to build on last year’s successes while keeping an unrelenting focus on innovative and effective adult professional learning as a driver of success in lifting student learning. There will be expanded opportunities for teachers to lead their own and their colleagues’ learning within the realms of academic and social-emotional learning, to access multiple delivery models that build and maximize our digital professional learning network within and beyond the borders of our district, to engage in deepening the work of cohorts and PLCs, and to solidify our commitment to the faithful use of the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle of Inquiry in assessing fidelity and integrity of implementation and gathering evidence of impact on district/site-led professional learning sessions.
In our quest to reframe, reevaluate, and reinvent our district’s professional learning system, we are asking you once again to consider making your leadership voice count through your participation in PUSD’s Professional Learning Task Force, completion of the upcoming district-wide comprehensive professional learning survey, as well as engagement in focus groups and empathy interviews beginning in Spring 2018.
We continue to look forward to expanding the depth and degree of our collaborative learning especially around establishing a common language about the direction, deeper understanding and commitment of professional learning district-wide. Our Equity and Professional Learning Team is here to be of service and support to you. Together, our unified efforts in leveraging the “Power of Now” to improve and strengthen our capacity will only catapult our Promise of Excellence beyond the targets of high student achievement and into fostering the collective genius of all PUSD learners – students and adults alike!