Imagine having the time to study a pertinent topic with your colleagues, learning with them and from them. This may not appeal to everyone, but for members of the statewide ESU Staff Development Affiliate (SDA), it was an awesome opportunity.
In a typical year, staff developers from across Nebraska meet together frequently to hear presenters on various topics that support our work with our school districts. However, the 2008-09 year was not a typical year. SDA chose to work on a project that I believe has the potential to impact our schools in a variety of ways.
Instead of listening to presenters, members worked in collaborative groups, much like schools’ Professional Learning Communities. The groups were called GEMS (Gaining Expertise Through Membership Study). The purpose of the year-long project was to develop modules on pertinent topics that can be utilized by ESU staff statewide in working with our schools.
Modules were developed in Differentiation of Instruction, Vision and Purpose, Profile for Continuous Improvement, Professional Development to Improve Student Learning, Leadership, Systems Thinking, Response to Intervention, New Teacher Induction, and 21st Century Skills. These projects were showcased in September, and truly proved to be a “treasure trove” of information.
Suzanne and I can use the materials that were developed to assist our schools in your staff development efforts. Please contact one of us if you would like more information. We would love to share!