Ector County Independent School District Professional Learning
In keeping with the mission, beliefs, objectives, parameters and strategies of the Ector County Independent School District, this Professional Learning Plan will be the basis for designing and implementing a systematic approach to professional learning that will build the individual and collective capacity of each ECISD team member to directly or indirectly support each student in actualizing his or her personal talents and interests.
ECISD Professional Learning Definition
Professional learning is a continuous improvement process designed to increase student success by fostering the individual and collective capacity of each ECISD team member. In ECISD:
• We believe that professional learning should be designed for a clear and compelling purpose which aligns with the ECISD Strategic Plan and is evaluated based on changes in practice that enhance the educational experiences of each student.
• We believe that professional learning should be personalized to build the capacity of each team member to support each student in optimizing his or her potential.
• We believe that each team member thrives when he or she is able to collaborate with colleagues to improve practice as part of a professional learning community.
• We believe that professional learning should be data-driven, job-embedded, ongoing, and relevant to each team member’s role and needs.
• We believe that professional learning is most effective when it honors adult learning theory, incorporates choice, and models engaging and relevant learning strategies.
• We believe that all team members deserve access to job-embedded coaching, mentoring, and peer support throughout the cycle of learning.
• We believe that each team member has an individual responsibility to ensure personal growth towards individual and organizational goals.
ECISD Context for Professional Learning Design
Professional learning in ECISD is designed in accordance with the Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning, based upon a theoretical framework for adult learning, and emphasizes the importance of job-embedded professional learning structures.
Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning
The Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning (Learning Forward, 2011) are:
1. Learning Communities: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment.
2. Leadership: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.
3. Resources: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.
4. Data: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.
5. Learning Designs: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes.
6. Implementation: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change.
7. Outcomes: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.
Adult Learning Theory
All Professional Learning in ECISD is grounded in research-based approaches to adult learning. Professional Learning is chosen and designed to facilitate both individual development and district initiatives. Learning opportunities are offered to support team members through each phase of the cycle of learning, resulting in sustainable changes in practice.
All ECISD Professional learning reflects the following beliefs about adult learning which results in building the capacity for individual expertise and organizational change:
• Adults commit to learning when the goals and activities of the learning are based upon a shared mission and when there is a clear relevance between the learning and the shared objectives.
• Adults are most committed to learning when their existing knowledge and expertise are honored and when they are given the opportunity to share their understandings and collaborate to produce common insights and growth.
• Opportunities for professional learning must be varied and flexible to honor adult preferences for learning.
• Professional learning is most valuable and effective when combined with practical job-embedded follow up activities (e.g., coaching, mentoring, PLCs) that assist team members in integrating new learning into existing practices.
• To create lasting and sustainable change in beliefs and practices, professional learning must include opportunities for non-evaluative feedback and reflection.
• All Professional learning is designed to enhance student educational experiences (Zepeda, 2012)
Job-Embedded Professional Learning
In ECISD, we emphasize job-embedded professional learning (JEPL), which is the collaborative study of practical elements related to the daily work of each team member. JEPL takes place in the job setting during the workday to identify problems of practice and collectively analyze solutions to improve student learning (Learning Forward, 2011). The conditions under which it takes place necessarily make it timely, relevant, practical, and personalized. JEPL facilitates feedback and reflection, which foster the long-term adoption and transfer of new skills and beliefs, resulting in continuous improvement of the educational process. Examples of JEPL include professional learning communities, instructional coaching, mentoring, and collaborative assessment development.