As the school year winds down, the Learning Forward Foundation has taken some time to check in with 2016  Principal as Leader of Professional Learning Scholarship winner Kelly Hastings (Principal at Young Junior High) and 2016 Patsy Hochman Academy Scholarship winner Shannon Terry (Director of Professional Learning).  This dynamic duo have collaborated to structure and support the New Teacher Induction Program, the Arlington Independent School District’s comprehensive approach for professional learning for beginning teachers. This initiative has amassed widespread leadership commitment across the system and has been truly empowering and transformational, especially given the size and complexity of the district.

As part of their efforts to engage in aligned educator learning to develop individual agency, the program’s educators participate in a systematic learning design that includes:

  • Goal-setting to ground the work;
  • Identifying problems of practice;
  • Selecting high priority areas of need;
  • Deepening knowledge through targeted, goal-aligned professional learning;
  • Applying new learning to enhance practice; and
  • Collaboratively reflecting on outcomes.

Customized supports built into the learning design include the New Teacher Professional Learning Scoop-it Blog curated by Renee Pope, and virtual classroom tours K-23-6, and 7-12. Through this process, there is a strategic emphasis on developing teacher agency, empowering educators through ownership, choice, and flexibility, and enabling them to make course corrections in their learning and instructional practice, based on personal context.

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Arlington Independent School District’s online Professional Development Center is a treasure trove of resources and supports for new teachers.

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Lifelong Learning … Reflecting and Improving Upon Instructional Practice is a banner above a series of Teaching Channel videos targeted on reflection and growth.

The goal-setting phase began with an invitation to new teachers to envision what effective teaching and learning would look like in a student and problem-centered classrooms, according to their role, identity, and context. Each participant engages in goal-setting focused in three areas:

  • Planning;
  • Instruction; and
  • The learning environment.

To achieve their goals, new teachers generated a common understanding of the purpose for using problems of practice, aligned with student learning needs, as the method for identifying areas for professional learning. To frame their monthly team learning sessions, new teachers write brief descriptions of their problems and share them with their teams and lead facilitator. Then, Academics Services leaders facilitate learning conversations with the new teachers to attend to high priority content, using protocols that are also designed to affirm and deepen teacher agency.

These Learning Forward Foundation awardees from Arlington Independent School District are clearly engaging in aligned educator learning to develop individual agency. Stay tuned for more on this learning journey in The Learning Professional this fall!

Learning Forward Foundation Scholarships

The Learning Forward Foundation scholarship contest encourages educators to put their good ideas into action and apply their research and creativity to impact education’s most profound challenges. While applications are closed for this year, go to our website to learn more to consider applying for next year, or donate to the Learning Forward Foundation scholarships and grants.