Humansville R-IV School District is a small, rural district in a high-poverty locale of Polk County, Missouri. It serves 400 students in grades K-12 and 37 preschool students. District data includes:
• 40% of its 36 teachers have a master’s degree or higher
• Fully accredited by the Missouri State Board of Education
• 80% of students are qualified for free or reduced-price lunches
• 10% of students have an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Professional development (PD) is a high priority in Humansville Schools and, though practiced consistently, District Mentor/Mentee Coordinator Janice Hogan had concerns and was anxious to find a program that would deal with them. Its challenges have been:
• Budget cuts
• Time constraints
• Diverse teacher needs
• Small teaching staff
• High teacher turnover
“As a small district in a high poverty area, we have very specific needs and to meet them, we as educators must keep growing. PD 360 is a perfect partner in achieving our goals. I’m sold on it!”
Humansville R-VI School District, MO
Ms. Hogan searched the Internet and found PD 360, an online, on demand PD resource for teachers. She immediately signed up for a free 30-day trial and was so impressed with its ability to address all of their challenges that she knew it was right for Humansville Schools.
Small districts often feel that they do not have enough budget money for PD. Humansville administrators studied the costs of hiring classroom substitutes, sending teachers to a workshop or conference, and the effectiveness of those options compared to the cost of PD 360. The answer was obvious - PD 360 was a better solution. The district redirected that money rather than looking for new money within the budget. Now when they look at PD monies at the first of each year, PD 360 comes first.
ABOUT PD 360
PD 360 is an on demand library of professional teacher development resources that leverages technology to make professional learning more effective, convenient, and sustainable. With over 200 hours of research-based video content, plus tools for follow-up, tracking, reflection, and group training, PD 360 is the most comprehensive solution to your professional teacher development needs.
More than 700,000 educators across North America already use PD 360 to access individualized support on the most relevant topics, such as differentiation, minority student achievement, English Language Learners, classroom instruction that works, leadership, assessment, and many more. PD 360’s content is divided into hundreds of indexed and searchable segments that make it easy for teachers, administrators, aspiring leaders, coaches, mentors, paraprofessionals, and professional learning communities to find the answers they need. New content is added continually to keep educators up to date. See a demonstration at www.pd360.com.
DRIVING USAGE AND IMPLEMENTATION
PD 360 was introduced to Humansville administrators who were very pleased with the product’s possibilities and in turn, passed it on to teachers.
• Interactive Communities/Groups
As a small staff, Humansville teachers are delighted with the ability to share support and ideas with teachers around the country through PD 360’s interactive communities and groups. Teachers and administrators can share best practices, learn from one another, and eliminate classroom isolation. Ms. Hogan feels that the communities are excellent, and she encourages teachers to reach out and start their own groups. They can be created as public or private domains.
• Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
PD 360 is used in Humansville PLCs for specific needs and goals. It supports PLCs and gives them a solid resource to study. PLCs can watch a PD 360 video segment and discuss how to apply the practices in their classrooms.
• New Teachers/Mentor Program
New teachers are given a one-week orientation to understand the district objectives and focus. They are also introduced to PD 360 and trained in its uses.
The Mentor/Mentee Program is a mandatory two-year plan for all new teachers. PD 360 usage is required with an emphasis on Learning 360 Framework, a comprehensive learning system centered on research-based principles of instructional strategies, paired with powerful teaching and student learning.
Principal walkthroughs are formally required twice a year but occur often on a more casual basis. Having principals in the classrooms has a huge impact on teacher training. They can email specific PD 360 segment links that are relevant to the instructional needs of the teachers while providing easy and effective, job-embedded follow-up. Being able to provide instant remediation on many issues has been beneficial to both principals and teachers alike.
• Professional Growth Plans (PGPs)
As part of walkthroughs and the evaluation process, all teachers have an individual PGP that is developed by the teacher and principal. It includes identified areas for growth, action plans, and progress-reporting procedures. Watching PD 360 segments relating to areas of difficulty while tracking what they learn and how they implement it in the classroom is becoming a large part of their PD procedure.
• Struggling Teachers
Principals help teachers who struggle by suggesting specific PD 360 segments that show what best classroom practices look like in needed areas. Each teacher’s usage, as well as their answers to reflection and follow-up questions can be tracked by the administration to follow growth.
When there is an issue in their classrooms, they can be directed to sections of programs such as Classroom Management, Differentiated Instruction, and many more.
Humansville is experiencing many benefits since putting PD 360 into practice, including:
• Improved Student Achievement
PD 360 is having a positive impact on student achievement. In the Missouri Assessment Program, Humansville’s Math proficiency scores have progressed from 26.9% in 2007 to 40.1% in 2010. And the Communication Arts proficiency scores have advanced from 32.2% in 2007 to 40.6% in 2010.
• Real Experts
Over 130 respected education experts are available at each teacher’s fingertips whenever they need them. Now Humansville educators do not have to attend expensive conferences to be trained by acknowledged authorities such as Michael Fullan, Doug Reeves, Richard DuFour, and Gayle Gregory.
• Real Classroom Examples
It is a plus for teachers in Humansville to see real classroom examples showing how the strategies are implemented. Having an example of a variety of classrooms from across the country is essential for teachers to actually see how to incorporate the practices into their own classes.
“Teachers participating in PD 360 are not just hearing about best practices, they are learning from the most renowned experts and watching how it’s done within successful real classrooms. Every educator is awed when first experiencing PD 360.”
Humansville R-VI School District, MO
• Relevant Topics
New content that is applicable and up to date is continually being added to PD 360. Humansville educators can quickly find the help they need in the 1,500 fully indexed video learning segments that address topics pertinent to them such as Block Scheduling, Differentiation, Special Education, etc.
PD should not be identical for every teacher but should be responsive to individual day-to-day school practices and student needs with a focus on job-embedded responsibilities. As questions and situations arise in classrooms, teachers can instantly find answers in PD 360 to improve instruction when needed instead of waiting for district training that might not address those needs.
• Differentiated Instruction for Teachers
Ms. Hogan believes that professional development for educators should meet an assortment of needs and not be a one-time, one-size-fits-all event. The large assortment of content in PD 360 ensures that teachers of every experience level can find individualized support to improve their classroom management strategies.
“We are so impressed with the scope of PD 360 and its ability to speak to the diverse needs of all educators. No longer do teachers need to sit through training meetings that have nothing to do with them.”
Humansville R-VI School District, MO
Humansville School District has found that PD 360 is cost-effective and offers a wide selection of professional development opportunities. The teachers love its benefits and Ms. Hogan is a true proponent, often serving as a spokesperson to other districts that want to talk to someone who is using it. She tells them, “PD 360 works!”
ABOUT SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK
School Improvement Network is the leading provider of teacher education and teacher training, specializing in on-demand, research-based professional development available anytime, anywhere. As the home of The Video Journal of Education, PD 360, Observation 360, and the Learning 360 Framework, School Improvement Network’s education training resources focus on the most relevant topics, such as classroom management, minority student achievement, English language learners, and more. The resources also feature top experts such as Michael Fullan and Douglas Reeves, and show how to put theory into practice. With its focus on long-term improvement, sustainability, and greater internal capacity, School Improvement Network helps its clients close achievement gaps, meet high standards, and increase student learning for both elementary education and secondary education. To learn more about School Improvement Network’s dynamic resources, visit www.schoolimprovement.com.