Professional Growth Models - A Study of Three NESA Schools
Professional Growth Models - A Study of Three NESA Schools

By Bridget Doogan, NESA Director of Professional Learning

"Professional growth models that prioritize professional growth rather than evaluation as their primary goal stimulate a habit of continuous improvement; increase collective responsibility for student and educator success; strengthen professional practice; and build a culture of collaboration." — Joellen Killion

Seeking systems that better align with their learning-focused cultures and practices, and convinced of the connection between professional growth and student learning, many schools have moved away from traditional teacher evaluation systems. Their emerging models seek to honor the capacity of educators to craft their personal, professional learning agenda through supportive collaborative practices informed by professional standards, in alignment with the strategic goals of the school.

At the NESA Fall Leadership Conference in Doha, Joellen Killion shone a light on three such models to explore the challenges they met along the journey, compare and contrast the models, and formulate lessons learned to apply to the professional growth models of other schools.

The teams were:

The KAUST School, Saudi Arabia: Maddy Hewitt-Director, and Justin Somerville-Kindergarten Principal

American School of Bombay: Fiona Reynolds-Assistant Superintendent, and Josh Bishop-High School Principal

American International School- Riyadh: Meeka White-Director of Learning, and Jenny Canar-Elementary Principal

Each team presented its journey from old, to new, to next steps. Dr Killion offered insights and invited questions from the audience. In the final analysis, she identified the common markers of each journey as follows:

1. A stimulus: An inspiring model; emerging literature; new inputs; a problem of practice.

2. A visioning process: Some exploration of the possible.

3. A reality assessment: How far are we from the desired state? What are we seeing/not seeing? What other inputs do we need? Corrective action?

4. A process of enrolling and engaging people in the work...of development and implementation.

5. A process of investigation and inquiry.

6. A human-centered design process: Develop - Test - Revise.

7. A focus on the learning principles, values and the culture of the school...rather than on the operational system itself.

8. Ongoing process of continuous modification and learning.

Graphic recorder Taryl Hansen charted the session and elevated these common themes visually (Her graphic recording is below-click image to enlarge).

We are grateful for the professional generosity of each of the three teams. What began as a simple invitation to share, became a professional dance among all three schools as they teed up alignment across their systems. The result was a presentation of the possible shared in the spirit of generosity, inquiry, and ongoing learning.

View the presentation of the session here:

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