One aspect of the school district that requires constant attention, adjustment, and improvement is professional development. While their are many mandated activities, providing varied, high quality experiences for a diverse group of teachers and staff is challenging. Research indicates that effective professional development is long-term, focused, and in context (pertaining to Burlington). The professional development plan offers a new direction in Burlington in that the program offerings are a direct result of teacher surveys and linked to district initiatives. The offerings reflect a long term commitment to provide opportunities for professional growth for all staff that reflect best practices.
The downside of creating a professional development plan is that is creates the perception that professional development is something extra. In fact, professional development should be something that occurs everyday. As an example, I would argue that groups of teachers working together to discuss student work and to improve student achievement is one of the most effective forms of professional development.
The Burlington Professional Development Plan is available on our website at www.burlington.mec.edu/curr/pd/index.html.