Case Study of Professional Development for Educators Suite: PD 360 – South Garland High School, TX

FOCUS

When Charles Rose entered SGHS as a new principal, he came to a school with a high-risk population, low test scores, disciplinary problems, and an elevated teacher turnover rate. It was not an easy place to teach and each year 50-60 teachers wanted out.

However, Principal Rose had a vision and a plan. With a background as a football coach, he was known as a persistent man with outstanding leadership skills and he had a strong desire to make a difference at SGHS. He made use of professional development (PD) to give teachers common goals as the first step to create his vision of a family atmosphere where administrators, teachers, and students support each other and pull together.

SOLUTION

When Garland ISD found and implemented PD 360 in its schools, Principal Rose recognized that the resource was right for his plan and he ran with it. He saw that students did not come into the school with the educational tools they needed for learning, and the teachers required new skills to engage students and become more cognizant of their needs. When students are engaged and their individual needs are being met, trust is built and relationships develop.

“I experienced a good example of the changes happening in our school during a classroom walk-through. The teacher was from the old school of learning; the desks were in straight rows and the students were listening as the teacher lectured.”

“The next time I visited this same classroom, the teacher had been learning Differentiated Instruction through PD 360 and it was a very different scene. Desks were arranged in groups and students were involved in discussions in their groups. Students were able to show where they were and where they were going with the subject matter.” – Charles Rose, Principal, South Garland High School, TX

ABOUT PD 360

PD 360 is an on-demand library of professional teacher development resources that leverages technology to make professional learning more effective, convenient, and sustainable. With over 200 hours of research-based video content, plus tools for follow-up, tracking, reflection, and group training, PD 360 is the most comprehensive solution to your professional teacher development needs.

More than 600,000 educators across North America already use PD 360 to access individualized support on the most relevant topics, like differentiation, minority student achievement, English language learners, classroom instruction that works, leadership, assessment, and many more. PD 360’s content is divided into hundreds of indexed and searchable segments that make it easy for teachers, administrators, aspiring leaders, coaches, mentors, paraprofessionals, and professional learning communities to find the answers they need. New content is continually added to keep you up-to-date. See a demonstration at pd360.com.

DRIVING USAGE AND IMPLEMENTATION

Every department in SGHS met and developed its own PD 360 plan based on its needs. The school is using PD 360 to create a “transparent” and continuous professional development in many different ways.

“SGHS is proud to have used PD 360 more than anyone in the district. It is a great tool that allows me to go out and be an expert in helping teachers feel confident to meet the needs of students in the classroom.” – Charles Rose, Principal, South Garland High School, TX

• Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s)
PD 360 supports SGHS Professional Learning Communities. After watching a video segment alone or as a group, teachers discuss how to apply the practices in their classrooms. Principal Rose or one of the vice-principals often sits in with the PLC’s to discuss their successes with them. The accompanying Facilitator Guides provide group activities, discussion questions, lesson plans, and graphic organizers.

• Teachers Who Struggle
SGHS instructional leaders help struggling teachers by suggesting specific PD 360 segments that show what best practices look like in needed areas. Each teacher’s usage as well as their answers to Reflection and Follow-up Questions is tracked to follow their growth.

• Walk-Throughs
When Principal Rose does classroom walk-throughs, he emails specific PD 360 segment links to individual teachers that are relevant to particular instructional needs. Teachers are then able to watch real classroom examples showing how to implement the practices.

• Group Training
Groups in SGHS are stepping up to use PD 360, excited to have collaborative viewing readily available. They use PD 360 videos to show in small groups, large groups, and faculty meetings to illustrate instructional strategies and then discuss in groups to learn from each other.

BENEFITS

With PD 360, SGHS is experiencing many benefits through its teacher professional development.

• Teacher Retention
As teachers learn best practices and implement them in the classroom, they become more confident with their skills, enjoy teaching, and want to be there. The school that was losing 50-60 teachers per year is now losing approximately 12.

“No other district (Garland ISD) puts as much emphasis on teacher retention. A teacher is the most important part of a classroom.” – Senator Florence Shapiro, Texas State Senate

• Vast Library of Content / Relevant Topics
Over 1,400 video segments with classroom examples of best practices are available to SGHS teachers on PD 360. Innovative content is continually being added to the indexed and easily searchable video segments giving SGHS the most current and comprehensive PD library available.

• Accessibility
Because PD 360 is an online and on-demand solution, teachers in the system can access it anytime and anywhere they have the Internet. They can log on at home as well as at work, which encourages teachers to take charge of their learning on their own time schedule. Educators have unlimited access to PD 360 and can view segments and programs as many times as they wish and as often as they need. Teacher professional development is now flexible to individual schedules rather than being limited to the school calendar.

• Cost Effective
PD 360 has been cost-effective for Garland ISD and consequently SGHS has benefited from a wide variety of topics and well-known experts in education. The expenditure is much less than traditional PD and can be purchased with a variety of funding sources available to districts and schools, including Title I, II, III, IV, V, VII, state funds, foundation funds, federal and state grant monies, math funds, reading funds, technology funds, etc.

• Consistency
PD 360 usage encourages consistency in common language and practice. The Focus Objectives support a more efficient, focused commonality with all educators in the district and an ongoing collective vision.

• Individual Needs
Professional development should meet the diversity of teacher needs and not be a one-time, one-size-fits-all event, but rather an evolving process of reflection and growth that is sustained in communities of practice, and focused on job-embedded responsibilities. As questions and situations arise in classrooms, teachers can easily find answers in PD 360 to improve teaching and give support when needed instead of waiting for workshops.

• Individual Accountability
With PD 360, teachers are responsible for their own professional growth and administrators can ensure that it happens consistently with PD 360’s integrated tracking, reporting, and follow-up. This strengthens teacher commitment that translates into positive changes in the classroom.

• Easy Search Features
With hundreds of fully indexed and searchable learning segments, teachers and administrators can easily find the answers they require. PD 360 has everything SGHS teachers need to immediately improve their teaching and implement best practices.

• Tracking Features
SGHS teachers follow their own growth curve by using the tracking tools and reflection questions at the end of each segment while administrators use PD 360’s integrated tracking, reporting, and follow-up to ensure that teacher professional development happens consistently.

Tracking Features are also used to document teacher instructional accountability, necessary for their District Awards for Teacher Excellence (DATE) Grant.

• Follow-up and Reflection
After watching a video, teachers at SGHS answer reflection questions designed to stimulate thinking about classroom application. A week later, they automatically receive a follow-up email prompting them to describe their implementation progress and success. Administrators can track a teacher’s growth and PD activity.

CONCLUSION

Assessment scores are rising and so is teacher retention. Attitudes are positive. SGHS is a winning team with Principal Rose as coach and cheerleader for teachers and students. The high school has become a family network that supports and cares about each other as administrators, teachers, and students work together for a common goal with PD 360 as an important part of this school’s transformation.

“As a football coach, I ran plays with the team daily. If one player erred, did not get it, I would do it again. We would do it until everyone got it. It was not enough for most of the players to get it right. The goal was perfect plays.

“It is the same in the classrooms. If most of the kids get it, it is not enough, and the teacher should work with the group until they all get it. If one student errs, do it again. The goal is perfect assessment.” – Charles Rose, Principal, South Garland High School, TX

ABOUT SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK

The School Improvement Network is the leading provider of teacher education and teacher training, specializing in on-demand, research-based professional development anytime, anywhere. As the home of The Video Journal of Education, PD 360, and the Learning 360 Framework, School Improvement Network’s education training resources focus on the most relevant topics, such as classroom management. The resources also feature top experts such as Michael Fullan and Douglas Reeves, and show how to put theory into practice. With its focus on long-term improvement, sustainability, and greater internal capacity, the School Improvement Network helps its clients close achievement gaps, meet high standards and increase student learning for both elementary education and secondary education. To learn more about School Improvement Network’s dynamic resources, visit http://www.schoolimprovement.com.