Differentiating professional development

Source: SmartBlog on Education in partnership with GreyED Solutions

We strive to increase communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity – our “four Cs” – among teachers and students as we deploy technology in the White Bear Lake Area Schools. Our differentiated professional development pathway, guided by district goals and data analytics, enables us to achieve this.

Our program offers multiple entry points, each designed to increase capacity at every level. They include traditional PD days, a summer tech camp, 20-minute before school introductory sessions, individual and group coaching, and a year-long graduate course centered on technology and leadership. This model enables us to move our entire district forward while still meeting the needs of individual educators.

Reporting data keeps us on track. Measures of teachers and student technology use, access and skills help us benchmark our effectiveness and make adjustments throughout the year. This data, coupled with a robust infrastructure, empowers us to set new goals that drive “four Cs” innovation.

Mark Garrison, director of technology at White Bear Lake Area Schools, is an innovative educator and a passionate advocate for technology in education. Garrison earned a Masters in Learning Technologies at the University of Minnesota. He is also a Google Certified Teacher and was named one of 15 YouTube Star Teachers in 2011. He has served in a number of roles over his 20-year education career including upper elementary, first-grade reading, middle-school music, art, physical education, high school wood shop, instructional technology support and district leadership.