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The Ellis Edge

Ellis USD 388 Professional Staff Development

In the Ellis School District, professional development is the means by which educators acquire or enhance the knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs necessary to create high levels of learning for all students.  Professional development should be focused and directly related to the teacher’s practice.  It should be site-based and sustained over time.  It should result in high levels of student performance.

Quality professional development incorporates the Standards for Staff Development established by the National Staff Development Council.  One of the strengths of the standards is that they are rooted in the belief that it is not only educators who benefit from high quality professional development but also the students in their classrooms.

In Ellis, we believe that professional development should draw upon expertise both internal and external.  It should promote a sense of inquiry and reflection to help teachers make sense of what they are doing.  Finally, all professional development should connect to the classroom and students.  Classroom application is facilitated by the collaborative work within Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s).

This USD 388 Professional Development Plan will assist qualified staff to:

  • Apply research to instructional improvement and decision making.
  • Use learning strategies and assessments appropriate to the identified student learning goal.
  • Apply knowledge about human learning and development.
  • Use knowledge and skills to collaborate professionally for school improvement.

The Ellis School District has identified several critical initiatives for professional development.  They are unit/curriculum design, differentiated instruction, formative and summative assessment, reading across all content areas, and instructional technology integration.  The district is planning a variety of activities to deepen the knowledge and skills of teachers in these areas.

Every teacher employed by USD 388 has gone or will go through in-house Intel Teach to the Future instructional technology training.  The goal of the Intel course is to train classroom teachers how to promote project-based learning and effectively integrate the use of computers into their existing curriculum so that students will increase their learning and achievement.  The training consists of forty hours of hands-on instruction to be delivered via ten modules.

The themes of the Intel Teach to the Future Essentials Course include:

  • Effective use of technology in the classroom
  • A focus on the ways students and teachers can use technology to enhance learning and research, communication, and productivity strategies and tools
  • An emphasis on “hands-on” learning and the creation of curricular unites and evaluation tools, which address state and national academic and technology standards.
  • Promoting engaging opportunities for students through access to technology
  • Encouraging teachers to work in teams, problem-solve and participate in peer review of their units

To promote and coordinate professional development in the district, an online needs assessment survey is provided to teachers.  Results from this survey are utilized by the administrative leadership team in coordination with the “Results-Based Staff Development Plan” and the individual goals of teachers to identify district needs and create the professional development plans each year.