Purpose: 

Bellingham Public Schools and the Bellingham Education Association (BEA) recognize that meaningful professional development (PD) is a key to achieving many of the parties interests related to use of time, student growth and job satisfaction. To that end, the parties shall convene a joint task force in the fall of 2015 charged with the purpose of studying and developing standards to facilitate meaningful professional development for certificated staff.

Basis for Establishment:

Upon ratification of the 2014-18 contractual agreement between the BEA and the school district, a representative of the BEA and the Deputy Superintendent shall meet to identify membership, meeting dates for 2015-16 and an agenda outline for the process and outcomes associated with each meeting.

Decision-Making Process:

  • The committee will work from evidence in the research literature to decide on a framework for high quality professional development that can guide the work of individual teachers, teacher teams, school staffs, and the district as a whole.
  • The committee will work from evidence to discuss the nature and quality of professional learning across the school system, and make recommendations about ways to ensure ever-increasing benefits for teachers and students.
  • The committee decisions shall be made via a process of consensual dialogue, informed by the ongoing work of the school district.

Plan of Work:

The committee will convene initially in the fall of 2014, and hold a series of foundational meetings that will review current practices in PD, review relevant literature on high quality adult learning experiences, and determine a set of principles that will guide the districts’ development of professional learning into the future.

The committee will examine questions such as the following:

  • How do we develop PD activities that are extended and sustained over time?
  • How do we support the opportunity for teachers to try new practices?
  • How do we create a structure that supports new teachers in a powerful way?
  • How do we support PD networks that develop teaching within specific subject matter areas?
  • What steps lead to the establishment of a shared professional culture in which growth linked to the achievement of key goals is supported, embraced, and attempted?
  • How do we engender a sense of commitment to school goals?
  • What steps lead to sustained motivation related to professional growth?
  • How do we measure the efficacy of various types of professional development activities?

The committee shall examine concepts such as the following:

  • PD needs be identified by cohorts
  • PD proposals submitted by staff, measured against PD standards
  • Annual PD conference; focused on specific PD yet designed to shift culture
  • A significant amount of PD content designed and delivered by teacher/specialist-leaders compensated for this work

After the initial series of fall 2014 meetings, the committee will plan follow up meetings approximately every six weeks to review professional learning efforts underway across the district, make recommendations on changes, and assess results to date.

Meeting Dates:

Members will need to be available from 4-6 p.m. on the following meeting dates:

2014-15

  • October 1
  • October 15
  • November 5
  • November 12
  • January 14
  • February 18
  • April 1
  • May 13

2015-16

  • September 22 (4-7 p.m.)
  • October 7
  • January 13
  • February 23
  • March 31
  • April 14
  • May 17
  • June 16

2016-17 (4-5:30 p.m. at the District Office)

  • September 29
  • November 30
  • February 1
  • February 15
  • April 17

Members:

The District and Association shall each appoint a co-chair to lead the task force and such additional members as the parties determine would be helpful to the work of the committee.

  • Shirley Prichard, Teacher, Happy Valley Elementary, Co-Chair
  • Michael Copland, Deputy Superintendent, Co-Chair
  • Shirley Potter, BEA President
  • Sara Strommer, Teacher, Shuksan Middle School
  • James Walsh, Teacher, Whatcom Middle School
  • Bruce Mansfield, Teacher, Bellingham High School
  • Pam Pottle, Teacher on Special Assignment
  • Michelle Kuss-Cybula, Interim Principal, Sehome High School
  • Charisse Berner, Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Keith Schacht, Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Dawn Christiana, Director of Teaching and Learning

Responsibilities:

To study and develop standards to facilitate meaningful professional development for the employees of the Bellingham Public Schools.

Timeline:

Committee to convene in the fall of the 2015-16 school year, with a goal of making decisions on a framework and standards for professional learning no later than September 2015.

Budget Implications:

Costs associated with provision of substitutes for teacher representatives, if meetings occur during the school day.

Documentation:

Executive Summary

Results of the Spring 2015 Survey of Professional Learning for Bellingham Public Schools’ Certificated Staff