Thursday, April 24, 2014

Planning Your Professional Path: The 2014-2015 School Year

My professional path has benefitted from the consult of many.

Early in my professional career, mentor educators offered the following advice:
  • Advance to the top of the pay scale as quickly as possible.
  • Stow away considerable dollars each pay check in a 403B account--you'll never miss it, and it will benefit you later on.
  • Take the time to chart your professional path.
I followed that advice, and the one addition I would add is to earn credits and professional points through professional development that leads you forward with new certifications, degrees, and/or professional skill rather than taking a loose assortment of various courses.  Since I started my career, I've gained more than 75 graduate credits through a wide assortment of professional courses. I wish, however, that I had earned those credits through a specific doctoral or professional degree program in hindsight as that would have given me greater professional choice.

Massachusetts' educators, in particular, have had a mighty professional path to navigate this year as outlined in this post I wrote last summer. Many Massachusetts educators are probably tying up the loose ends of this path during their vacation week as they complete professional binders, goals, and assessments.

The key to all of this work is to plan ahead and be prepared for the requirements and professional standards. The more that educators are in the know related to this work, the better they'll be able to navigate the work and teach children well.

With that in mind, I offer a new chart for the year ahead.  You may use the chart below to navigate the months to come. Also this chart demonstrates that summer has become a time of reflection and study for many educators--to teach well means that our school days are mostly spent on activity related to students' needs, and the summer is the time when we study and prepare for the year ahead.  There's no way educators could do all this work without time set aside for the preparation, research, and study required. In a sense, the summer offers a sabbatical--a time of thought that positively benefits the work we do. 

I will return to this post in the months to come as I learn of new initiatives.  In the meantime, you can best navigate your path by understanding the elements listed below and following a thoughtful plan as noted in the chart. 

Elements for Success
Chart Your Professional Path: 2014-2015
Professional Efforts, Learning,
and Advancement
Summer 2014
1. If you took RETELL, make sure you’ve received SEI endorsement.

2. If you did not take RETELL, find out if you have to take it in the upcoming year.

3. If you have to take RETELL, sign up for a course that fits your needs, location, and schedule well.

4. Ask your system about the requirements for you in this regard.
1. Prepare for the next cycle. Draft goals and initiatives.

2. Ask your system to share preliminary MCAS scores which come out in June and August as those scores will affect your goals for the upcoming year.

3. Prep and update your professional online or offline portfolio.
1. Find out if your system plans to take the PARCC tests next year.

2. Assess standards’ implementation and any new requirements such as PARCC (if officially adopted).

3.If you have time take a look at PARCC information and read through. Add PARCC-like questions, work to your year’s agenda.

4. Review efforts related to DDM measures. Determine assessments, efforts, and timeline.
1. Make sure you’ve received a system reimbursement for license fee if that’s part of your contract. Check to make sure the process went as planned.

2. Create your new recertification file. Prepare your new professional development plan:

1. Assess and revise professional plan as needed.

2. Research upcoming conferences, and target conferences for the year ahead. Fill out related forms.

3. Read professional books related to your professional goals if desired.

4. Set up learning environment.. Organize communication systems, and teaching/learning routines.

5. Make time to be a learner yourself, explore, engage, enjoy!
Fall 2014
1. Potentially take RETELL course.
1. Meet with administrators, and put finishing touches on goals, professional portfolio, and teaching efforts.
1. Prioritize efforts related to DDMs first, and get a good start on those efforts as your professional evaluation will eventually connect to these.
1. Regularly add your efforts to your recertification plans.

2. Read DESE updates weekly to stay on top of efforts.
1. Establish and nurture your PLN.

2. Make time for regular research, reading, and reflection.

3. Update efforts as needed.
Winter 2014--2015
1. RETELL course?

2. SEI requirements for certification?
1. Prep mid-eval materials for admin. meeting.
1. Review efforts to date, make updates if necessary.

2. Document efforts.
Same as above
Same as above.
Spring 2015
Same as above
1. Prep for end-of-year meetings. Follow system-wide requirements.
Same as above.

Reflect, and note positive changes for year ahead.
Recertify if this is your year, otherwise update charts, lists.
Same as above.
Summer 2015
Similar to summer 2014
(updates will be added)

*Starting July 1, 2016, in order to renew a professional license, all educators will need to accrue 15 PDPs in Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) and 15 PDPs in Special Education during each 5-year recertification cycle. The total number of PDPs required for recertification remains the same (150); however, 30 of those PDPs need to be in these specific areas.

**In 2013-2014, districts are required to research and pilot DDMs for some grades and subjects. In 2013-2014, at a minimum, districts must pilot at least one DDM that is aligned to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in each of the following areas:
    1. Early grade (K-3) literacy
    2. Early (K-3) grade math
    3. Middle grade (5-8) math
    4. High school writing to text
    5. Traditionally non-tested grades and subjects (e.g., fine arts, music, p.e.)