Professional Development - Future Directions
I want to take this opportunity to share some thoughts about the future direction of state-sponsored professional development. As I announced at the Summer Intensive Training this past August, it is my intent to examine how we deliver professional development in Minnesota and to develop a comprehensive strategy for a focused and effective professional development approach.
You may have already heard that Deb Simmons has resigned from her position with the University of St. Thomas Literacy Training Network, effective November 11th, and has accepted work with Breezy Point Conference Center. This situation adds another, more immediate, layer of planning onto the task of redesigning our overall professional development approaches and my office is in the process of making decisions about continuing or modifying any of the current year training events that are typically managed by the LTN. As soon as decisions have been made with regard to upcoming trainings, I will get the word out to the field. We wish Deb good luck with her new career and adventures – the Brainerd Lakes area is a fun place to live and work.
Over the past five years our MDE-ABE financial commitment to statewide professional development has been growing. Currently, the MDE-ABE system provides over $1.5 million to an array of service providers who have varied responsibilities for providing professional development opportunities, support services and technical assistance. The majority of these activities have been well-received by ABE educators. Nevertheless, as our whole field has changed significantly during this short period of time, it makes sense to review the way in which we allocate and deliver our professional development resources to ensure that:
- all audiences involved in ABE delivery are being reached,
- essential content is being delivered, and
- training outcomes are useful and measurable.
I just returned from a meeting with other state directors and at that meeting the improvement of statewide professional development systems was a two-day topic. Several directors shared their models and their successes – particularly MA, PA, and KY. Directors were in agreement that the following components of a statewide professional development system must be addressed in order to be effective and comprehensive:
There is clearly a lot to consider in this re-design challenge and the process will take time and require discussion and input. We have had considerable success recently with our emphasis on statewide accountability as evidenced by steadily rising core performance indicator results. We are a flexible, adaptable system that responds well to change. The re-designing of our statewide professional development approach is yet another challenge for our ABE system, but at the same time, an excellent opportunity to professionalize, to improve our delivery of services, and to fulfill the mission of ABE for our students. Thank you in advance for your support and cooperation as we go down this path.
Lyon County Government Center • 607 W. Main St. • Marshall, MN 56258 • (507) 537-7046