TIES Inclusive Education Roadmap
Collaborative Professional Development
Professional Development Plans
Creating a professional development (PD) plan, rather than a schedule of professional development activities, is essential to establish, sustain, and scale up inclusive education initiatives. The first step is to identify the topic/topics that will form the content of your PD plan. Reviewing the Sets of Features in your chosen RISE Focus Area can help you to come up with some of your your topics. In addition, using an informal needs assessment (i.e. the TIES teacher confidence survey) can support the prioritization of PD topics in your plan.
A professional development plan for inclusive education should include general information for all school personnel as well as more specific information for smaller stakeholder groups. Differentiated PD for specific stakeholder groups can maximize the time available for PD and provide very specific information only to the school personnel who need that information. For example, co-teaching teams will both benefit from PD related to standards and curriculum for the subject they are teaching. And, while both co-teachers can benefit from PD on embedding IEP goals into general education classroom activities, only special educators need PD related to writing IEPs in compliance with district policy and federal law.
Effective professional development plans utilize a variety of PD methods based on adult learning strategies. Adults benefit when reflection is embedded throughout professional learning to help bridge the gap between PD and implementation (York-Barr et al., 2016). They engage more deeply in learning activities that are directly related to their work life and are oriented towards problem-solving (Knolls, 1980). In Step 4, a menu of collaborative professional development examples were shared. As organizations move through the Initial Implementation stage, they may find that additional differentiated professional learning activities are needed to build capacity and achieve your SMARTIE goals. Data-based evaluation of participant satisfaction as well as impact on system priorities allows continuous improvement of your collaborative professional development plan (Guskey, 2013).
Questions to consider as you create your professional development plan:
- What are the Inclusive Education Action Plan goals and related outcomes that you wish to achieve with your PD plan?
- What combination of PD activities will you provide (i.e. webinar/presentation, work sessions, professional learning communities, coaching) that build knowledge, skills, and their application?
- Who will organize and deliver the professional development activities?
- How will you ensure high-quality professional development ?
- How and to whom will coaching be provided? Who will serve as the coaches?
- How will you assess participants’ satisfaction ?
- How will you assess increases in participants’ skills and knowledge and the impact on student learning?
- How can information regarding inclusive education be embedded into other professional development offerings (for example, curriculum offerings, equity offerings)?
- How will you ensure sufficient professional development opportunities related to inclusive education for general and special educators, collaborative teams, paraprofessionals, other school/district personnel and families?
The Resource List at the end of Step 5 provides links to a variety of TIES resources for professional development during initial implementation