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Professional Learning Plan Print E-mail
Monday, 29 January 2007 14:50

The Dawson County School System believes in the continuous professional growth of its staff. Professional learning may be defined as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by personnel to satisfactorily carry out duties and responsibilities of assigned positions to improve the performance of all personnel. Further, professional learning includes educational opportunities offered to persons through the approved comprehensive plan.
It is the goal of the Professional Learning Program to support the successful teaching and leadership practices of our staff members and to provide new, enriching opportunities for professional growth. The Professional Learning Advisory Committee will work closely with faculty, staff, administrators, and the Board of Education to ensure that specific professional needs are being met.
This comprehensive plan is intended to provide a broad view of the scope of our plans. Individual programs or activities will be submitted as addendums.

I. Student Goals and Educational Improvement Practices

   A.   Student Goals
      Certification Renewal programs designed to improve student performance will focus on the twelve standards for professional learning as identified by the Georgia Department of Education.
   B.   Educational Improvement Practices
      Certification Renewal programs may also be designed to improve teacher and staff techniques and practices as identified by on-going and formal annual evaluation processes. Needs identified by program effectiveness surveys and other studies, such as Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, individual interest inventories and needs assessments, may also be addressed through the Certification Renewal Process.

II. Educational Personnel Needs Assessment

A. External Assessment

Every certified employee of the Dawson County Schools shall be evaluated by his/her supervisor at least annually. As part of the evaluation process, a specific need may surface. Many of these needs may be met through local professional development and may carry credit for certification renewal. Certified employees who fail to meet their supervisor's expectations in the area of professional growth will receive an unsatisfactory designation on their annual evaluation. The Professional Learning coordinator will work with individuals to secure course work through local activities, Pioneer RESA, GLRS, and/or nearby colleges.

B. Self-Assessment

Annually, every employee has the opportunity to complete a needs assessment and an Individual Plan for professional learning, which assesses areas of need. These assessments will be in the form of surveys, focus groups, interviews, site visits, and/or response to requests.
The results of both the external and the self-assessment are used to determine professional learning activities for the following summer and year. Some of these activities will carry credit, which may be used for certification renewal. Stipends will be awarded for course work completed during the summer. The Advisory Committee will approve all stipends before money is released.

III. Approval of Professional Learning Courses for Individuals and Groups

Each individual employed by Dawson County Schools desiring professional learning unit (PLU) credits must complete a Prior Approval Form. (See page 6 attached.) The form is available through building-level curriculum personnel or the professional learning coordinator. The completed form must be signed by the local superintendent, professional learning coordinator, or other person authorized to assure that the improvement goals of the participant are being met by the course(s) being offered by the Dawson County school System. The Prior Approval Form shall include the four categories in which PLUs can be earned.

IV. Components of Professional Learning Unit (PLU) Activities

All agencies, providing professional learning units must submit each individual credit activity/course/program separately to the Georgia Department of Education as an addendum to their PLU Credit Plan for approval before that activity/course/program can be offered for PLU credit.

Each PLU addendum for a professional learning course will include the following components:

1.   Course description
2.   Goals
3.   Improvement practice to be implemented
4.   Competencies to be developed with associated performance indicators identified
5.   Preparation planning which includes
    •    Dates for the activity
    •    Instructor(s) and their qualifications to direct this activity
    •    Location
    •    General Instructional/delivery strategies to be used during the activity
6.   On-the-job performance verification procedures (when, who, and how) or mastery verification procedures including a rationale for why mastery verification is being used instead of on-the-job performance.

V. Procedures of Professional Learning Advisory Committee

The committee will advises and assist the system coordinator in the assessment of professional learning needs, determination of priorities, content and quality of activities, evaluation of the program and modification of the professional learning portion of the system’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP).

VI. Completion of Preparation

Participants must meet the following requirements in order to successfully complete the instructional phase of each PLU course or activity.

1.   Attend a minimum of 10 clock hours of instruction for each PLU as verified by attendance records maintained by the instructors. No more than 10% of the total contact hours will be allowed as absences. Make-up work will be scheduled for those with excused absences. All requirements of the instructional phase must be met within two months of the program date, or the final make-up session, if required.

2.   Demonstrate predetermined levels of competency as evidenced by mastery verification for each program.

3.   Develop an individual plan for implementation that has been approved by the instructional staff.

VII. Procedures for On-the-Job or Mastery Verification in lieu of On-the-Job Assessment

On-the-Job Assessment is the primary and most desired method of assessment; however, due to the nature of the knowledge and skills acquired during some of these programs, the instructional staff is best qualified to assess and evaluate each participant’s level of achievement in relation to the stated goals of the program. If Mastery Verification is selected, each program addendum will include a specific Mastery Verification Plan. The plan will include at least the following components:

    1.   Verification by the program coordinator that the participant has completed the required number of contact hours.
   2.   Verification by the instructor that the participant has demonstrated a predetermined level of competencies listed in the preparation phase of the training activity.
   3.   Verification by the instructor that the participant has successfully completed the on-the-job assessment (or mastery verification) process.
At the completion of the preparation phase, the instructor will complete a Professional Learning Unit (PLU) Course Completion Form (See page 7 or 8 attached.) for each participant successfully completing all requirements. The Course Completion Form shall include the four categories in which PLUs can be earned. The signatures of the instructional staff indicate both attendance for the required minimum contact hours and successful completion of the mastery verification requirements.

VIII. Record Keeping

Records will be carefully maintained by the instructors and kept by the program coordinator for a minimum of six (6) years. The form for documenting and verifying the recommendation for certification credit will be the Professional Learning Unit (PLU) Course Completion Form.

Records for verification of staff and professional development programs and certification renewal credit will be kept by the professional learning coordinator. The records will include but are not limited to the following:

1.   professional learning needs assessment,
2.   attendance roster for courses,
3.   evaluations of courses,
4.   copies of DE FORM 0224,
5.   any pertinent materials from professional learning courses,
6.   stipend applications,
7.   professional learning time reports,
8.   on-the-job assessments,
9.   application for PLU approval, and
10.   consultant’s fee.
IX. Appeals Channels

A participant desiring to appeal the recommendation of the instructor or program coordinator for certification credit may appeal the recommendation according to the following procedures.

Within one week of the final recommendation of the certification credit, the participant must notify the instructor in writing of his/her desire to appeal. With the notification, the participant must also state in writing the substantial reasons that support the appeal. The instructor and participant will schedule a meeting at which to discuss the appeal. Results of the meeting will be given to the participant in writing within one week of the meeting.

If the result of the process provided above does not resolve the case, the participants may submit a written notification of appeal and reasons to the program coordinator who approved and verified the participant’s professional learning activities, with a copy sent to the instructor. The instructor will arrange a meeting with the participant, the professional learning coordinator and the instructor to discuss the appeal. Information will be provided for this meeting by the program coordinator and instructor. The participant will be notified in writing within one week of the meeting.

The coordinator and the superintendent shall review the complaint and may interview the complainant. If deemed necessary, the instructor, evaluators, and/or the professional learning committee may be questioned as well.

The decision of the superintendent, in consultation with the coordinator, is final. However, as in all matters, the complainant may appeal to the Dawson County Board of Education.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 January 2007 15:08