Chapel Hill Elementary School (Gladstone, MO). The development of lifelong learners at Chapel Hill applies not only to our students but also to our staff. Teachers participate in district-provided monthly PD modules to refine instruction and ensure fidelity to district expectations. The building Teaching and Learning Coach (TLC) presents these modules, giving teachers opportunities to collaborate vertically and apply the PD to the school’s specific needs. Teachers implement new ideas from the modules and reflect on their impact during weekly professional learning team (PLT) meetings with the TLC. Coaching cycles offered by the TLC enhance professional growth and student achievement by providing a scaffolded instructional model. During coaching cycles, the TLC and teacher work together to meet specific goals.
In addition to professional development sessions, there are many opportunities for Chapel Hill staff to refine their individual skills. Teachers are invited to periodic sessions led by consultants who model lessons in classrooms across the district. All teachers have the option to visit demonstration classrooms throughout the year, offering a closer approximation to their own instructional environment. Each summer, four teachers from Chapel Hill attend a week-long Teachers College on refining literacy instruction. Two teachers from every grade level participate in Math Solutions, learning how to increase the rigor and relevance of math instruction. This year’s Math Solutions training is focused on action research, allowing teachers to target their students’ specific needs. When teachers attend unique professional development experiences, they share the information and strategies with their PLTs, which affects the entire student population. The district-wide New Teacher Cohort Program for first- and second-year teachers meets monthly and offers opportunities for members to observe veteran teachers, be observed by mentors, and receive feedback about their instruction. Each new teacher is paired with one of Chapel Hill’s veteran teachers as their mentor. Chapel Hill teachers continue to support each other long after the Cohort Program ends. Summer Academy and Professional Growth Courses (PGC) are offered as optional professional development to teachers who strive for innovation and improvement. Many Chapel Hill teachers participate, both as teachers and learners. A Summer Academy provides differentiated professional development connected to district initiatives. Teachers choose their courses during this week-long learning summit. Summer Academy courses are led by professional consultants, district leaders, and teachers. PGCs are multi-session courses offered throughout the year by district teachers with master’s degrees, which include many Chapel Hill teachers.