Sunday, June 1, 2014

Peer-to-Peer Professional Development

Mercy High School has put significant time and resources into professional development (PD) for the past three years.  The impetus of this was Mercy 2.0 which included the adoption of the iPad as a 1:1 device, becoming a Google Apps for Education school, and adding a new, required Design Foundations course to our curriculum.

With Mercy 2.0 we offered several PD formats.  In some cases we brought in and paid for highly skilled presenters and trainers.  However, the after-school workshops and drop-in labs led by colleagues within the building seemed to produce the best results. Peers have instant credibility and know their audience.  I don't regret any of the help we purchased from professionals.  But the peer-to-peer training made a real impression on me.  I admired the generosity of the trainers and the willingness of our staff to take advantage of the help.

2012 Professional Development Drop-in "Lab"
We are taking another major technology step into the next school year.  And all of the professional development has been peer-to-peer.  The decision to replace Moodle with Schoology as our learning management system (LMS) was made by teachers and advocated to colleagues by teachers.  Their leadership in this endeavor has been impressive.  Besides evangelizing the move, these teachers also became early adopters during the school year that has now ended, trouble-shooting issues that will save their colleagues a lot of trouble.

During the busy month of May, the following teachers lead after-school workshops for their peers that were allwell attended:

Schoology Overview / Lisa Robinet (Social Studies)

Using Schoology Calendar / Susan Smith (Art)

Communicating with Schoology / Alison Kline-Kator (Religious Studies)

Uploading Resources to Schoology / Jan Wampuszyc (science)

Creating Rubrics with Schoology / Lisa Robinet  (Social Studies)

Creating Quizzes and Tests with Schoology / Joe Gerardi (Religious Studies)

In the summer we will be offering one-to-one tutoring through our drop-in labs.  The persons above will be joined by the following volunteer tutors: 

Abigail Youngerman (English / Social Studies)
Angela Harris (English / Social Studies)
Eleasha Tarplin (Dean of Student Affairs)
Lauren Marquard (World Languages / Social Studies)
Renee Loubert (World Languages).

Any major systemic change like this has its hurdles, but the peer-to-peer PD is effectively laying the ground work for such a significant transition.

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