I am just starting my PGP meetings with teachers today. Every year I try to do a better job of helping make the PGPs the teachers complete living documents that will help them in their journey. I talk about PGPs quite a bit, and it comes up every time we talk about our PLCs. Our PLCs are based on the goals that come up in the PGPs. Teachers are given time to discuss their goals as a group ahead of time, and this has resulted in a lot of alignment between teachers. This year, more than ever.
We are also talking about the things we accept as evidence of student learning. Teachers have been asked to be mindful of this as they crafted their PGPs and as they work together in their PLCs.
As I have been thinking about maximizing the PGP meetings, I decided to use a Google form that I would complete during the meetings to gather evidence for myself that these things were addressed. I have narrowed the meeting down to only three questions.
The Form provides opportunity for me to select each teacher and then fill in the appropriate information for each question.
It’s quite simple, but I think the questions are the important ones. I’ve emailed the teachers the three questions ahead of time so they are ready for them when they come into the meeting. This is a screenshot of the questions in the form.
(Kerri is my VP)
As we focus on evidence of student learning, I’m focusing on gathering evidence of teachers gathering evidence.
Sometimes Professional Growth Plans drive me crazy… specifically my own! The following is from my online PGP:
The most difficult part in all this is that I feel I am working to improve in all areas, all the time. I know I have a lot to learn. I guess by allowing myself to focus on two goals, I can narrow my focus and the likelihood of achieving noticeable growth increases. I look forward to the opportunity to conscientiously reflect more on what it will take to improve in these areas.
So, I write these lofty goals for myself at the beginning of the year; then things get busy and I have to go back to remind myself of what I actually wrote. I am, like is said, trying to improve in all areas… Why wouldn’t I? They are all important. But, I do agree (with myself!) that narrowing the focus is important.
Today, I went back to check what specifics I had around my goals. I am glad to report that I am making progress in both areas I had listed. I am working to, first of all, in the area of Instructional Leadership:
- Model Instructional Practices
- Share Instructional Tools
- Provide resources and implementation
My second goal is in the area of Understanding and Responding to the Larger Societal Context:
- Improve parent involvement in programs and decisions
- Increase parent communication
What drives me crazy (there should be a book about the many things that do!) about PGP’s is that it is soooo easy to shelve them and forget about what they are. There is no lack of things to work on daily, and personal growth is often left to chance. We grow in those areas that we pay the most attention to – for good or bad!
The great thing about a PGP is, when it is used properly it keeps that focus and allows for specific, purposeful growth. Having a blog that directly addresses personal areas of strength and weakness is a powerful way to continually address those goals. I am working on both goals, and having the personal reminders AND networked connections that come from blogging have proven to be extremely valuable to the process. In addition, having the entire process online and out there for those who care to observe, places a great deal of accountability on me to maintain the process, and in a thoughtful, transparent manner. I have enough staff who read my blog to guarantee that I will be called on anything I report to be untrue or inaccurate.
PGPs are great – when they are thoughtful and address areas that need attention.