Professional Learning

WSSD Staff's Perceptions About Professional Learning


Educational organizations are complex systems designed to serve an ever changing society. Our challenge is to prepare students to be college and career ready. To do that most effectively, we continually search for new and better ways to increase student growth and achievement. We cannot effectively do so without providing our professionals and paraprofessionals with learning opportunities that encourage and support professional and organizational growth. The WSSD Professional Development Framework strives to provide valuable, timely and relevant learning opportunities aligned to individual and organizational needs that will ultimately result in effective and engaging learning opportunities for our students.


Professional Learning Opportunities must:

• be grounded in research about teaching and learning;

• provide a common language around best educational practices within and across disciplines;

• draw on the expertise of staff and take into account the differing degrees of experience present in school settings;

• be job embedded, continuous, and sustained;

• be personalized to the needs of the professional;

• develop capacity in the designers and end-users;

• be engaging and reflect best practices;

• have a growth emphasis;

• be forward thinking;

• be relevant, timely and collaborative;

• improve student achievement and growth.


The individual professional staff member                                                                                                                      

Classroom instruction has the most impact on student learning and achievement. Because of this, it is important individual staff members can design and implement an individualized professional growth plan. The plan will reflect:

• a focus on student learning and achievement;

• an ongoing process for growth;

• collegial interaction and collaboration.

The department/grade level

The department/grade level must work collaboratively to meet the professional learning needs of their members relative to student achievement and growth. It is important that the teams analyze student data on a regular basis and then determine what they need to learn more about in order to maximize student growth and achievement. The plan will reflect:

• a focus on student learning and achievement;

• an ongoing process for growth;

• collegial interaction and collaboration. 

The Building                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

The school building is the key unit for educational change. Each building must have a unique professional learning vision based on the building's analysis of its own needs and integrated with district goals.The plan will reflect:

• an inclusive shared decision-making process to design, deliver and evaluate the program;

• an integration of individual, team/department, building and district goals.

The district                                                                                                                                                                           

District action needs to establish conditions for professional growth.

These conditions include:

• a clear articulation of purpose, belief and mission;

• a clear communication of the goals of the comprehensive professional development framework;

• a commitment of the necessary resources including money, staff support and leadership training;

• a recognition and support of the needs of subgroups within buildings and across the district (grade level, departments, specialists, special education).


Professional learning will take place in a variety of designs:


                Individuals at a conference

                District and Building Professional Learning Sessions

                            Professional Learning Communities (PLC) with a specific focus unique to department   

                            Book Studies

                            Data Analysis                      

On-line (asynchronous)

                Individual Learning Paths

                Eduplanet Paths

                Other Provider Paths


                Eduplanet Path with Face-to-Face that could include:

                                Grade level Teams

                                Department Teams

                                Mini-curricular Teams

                                Building Teams

                                District Teams


Our professional learning plans must align with our Comprehensive Plan. WSSD's overarching goal is:

Our District will establish systems that ensure consistent implementation of standards aligned curricula and assessments, effective instructional practices, and growth and achievement for all students.

Identified Strategies in the plan to achieve our goal:

1. Curriculum design that aligns with PA Core, PA Standards, Industry and Content Standards.

2 .Quality instruction that reflect best practice: engaging, rigorous, relevant, differentiated, current. 

3. Data Analysis Protocols that are district wide.

4. Instructional conversations at the district, building, department/grade level that are student-centered, regular and meaningful. 

5. Substantial professional learning opportunities that are focused, job embedded, differentiated, student-centered and grounded in research.

6. Common assessments within grade/subject that reflect best assessment practices:

         Assessments should serve learning.

         Multiple measures provide a richer picture.

         Assessments should align with goals.

         Assessments should measure what matters.

         Assessments should be fair.

         Assessments should reflect Webb’s Depth levels of application.

7. Technology access and training to support 21st Century Learning 

8. Leadership capacity that is built across all professional and support staff. 

9. Literacy instruction across the curriculum.

10. ELA and Math shifts, rigor, relevance, and 21st Century Skills embedded in instruction and assessment across the curriculum.

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