Your Own Professional Development Is Worth the Time
EdCon 2012 recently concluded and was a huge success! Thanks go out to all of this year's participants for making EdCon a priority in your professional development and networking activities. It is your support and attendance at MASSP functions that allows these critical PD opportunities to take place and address the real time needs we each face as educational leaders. I heard nothing but positive comments from colleagues as to the benefits of attending this annual conference that truly solidifies MASSP as "THE PREMIER EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION" in the state of Michigan. For those who were unable to join us, please make plans to attend one of the Mid-Winter Conferences geared to your specific administrative role. You'll be so glad you did.
One prime example of the benefit of this recent time away with colleagues was the "Leader2Leader" session in which practicing administrators can pick each others brains for practical ideas and solutions to pressing issues. At the session I attended, evaluation was the hot topic. It was very enlightening to hear how various districts from around the state, both urban and rural, are approaching the state mandated yearly evaluation of all staff. We all heard from Past-President, Dr. Jennifer Hammond, as she shared insight and future direction coming from the Governor's council. Each of our Districts will be choosing an observation/evaluation model in the near future that is "approved" by the state. And as daunting as the task was this past year to do these evaluations with fidelity, the one constant I heard around the room was that the bar has definitely been raised on professional practice and conversation with our staff.
Person after person around our table shared stories of deep and meaningful dialogue that was taking place with teachers through this process. This was true regardless of what model was being employed. We all agreed there is much work left to do in making the entire process more equitable and meaningful, but I did not hear one person advocate for a return to the former practices. Will there be more work for administrators whose time is already spread paper thin? Yes. But there is a united expectation that this work will pay tremendous dividends in realizing our shared mission of preparing ALL students for college and career readiness of the 21st century.