Friday, May 4, 2007

Pro Dev for Principals

I'm enjoying some great conversation with the AWSP and WSPEF board members this morning in Bellevue. Today, we're talking about principal professional development needs. The question our Director of Professional Development, Terry Barber, raised in conversation with the board was:
What kinds of professional development should AWSP offer that we are not currently providing?
Most everyone around the table agreed it should take at least two tracks: inspirational (workshops helping principals reflect on their role as leaders, balancing work/life demands) and technical (workshops tailored to specific leadership skills and issues). What kind of instructional leadership training do you look for? What programs would you take time out of your building to attend?

1 comment:

Jeff Allen said...

I had the opportunity to attend the 2004 National Staff Development Conference (NSDC) in Vancouver, B.C. with my mathematics professional development staff at Olympic ESD. It truly was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended (with the exception of any NCCE Conference… no bias… :) and I highly recommend any administrator to attend it.

During one of the keynote lunches (eating lunch with 4,000 friends), Rick and Becky DeFour came up to our table, looking at the two empty spots, and said, “Mind if we sit with you guys?” After muttering a mumbling-stumbling “yes”, we finally worked up the gumption to spark a conversation with them.

We had come to the conference specifically to learn about sustainable leadership and how principals could effectively support professional learning communities. We asked Rick (we’re really not on a first name basis) what is the most important thing that principals must focus on in order to improve the learning of students in their schools? His response was immediate and insightful, “Leaders’ primary focus must be upon the ongoing professional learning of those he leads.”

We chewed on that statement long after the conference. Principals need to develop their skills as professional developers. Not necessarily as professional development deliverers, but rather have a deep understanding of the principles of adult leaning, effective strategies for professional development, and how to create the conditions in their schools such that significant job-embeded professional leaning can become a natural course of a teacher’s work.