Decatur County Schools. Georgia - A PD 360 Case Study


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Find out how Decatur County Schools, located in the southwest corner of Georgia, found that PD 360 allowed them to provide differentiated learning for their teachers and build Professional Learning communities (PLCs) in their schools.

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Decatur County Schools. Georgia - A PD 360 Case Study

  1. 1. School Improvement Network Case StudySmall, Rural Georgia DistrictIncreases Teacher Effectiveness withOnline Differentiated DevelopmentDecatur County Schools, Georgia “Increasing teacher effectiveness is not characteristically focused energy, Dr. Bonifay searched for about sending everyone to a conference or the right tool, knowing she wanted the following features: workshop. It’s about each individual getting what they need, whether it’s classroom • Cost efficiency management or instructional content/ • Large variety of subject matter strategies, when they need it and getting it • Current topics at their own levels.” • Convenient accessibility/unlimited viewing capacity • Differentiated teacher learningSuzanne Bonifay, EdD • Resources to build PLCsAssistant Superintendent forCurriculum & Instruction 6-12Decatur County Schools, Georgia SOLUTIONS While attending a state education conference, Dr. BonifayPROFILE was introduced to PD 360 and realized that it had the features she wanted in an improvement plan.Well known for its charming countryside and “southernhospitality,” Decatur County is located in the southwest “PD 360 is a great means for individual and globalcorner of Georgia and is home to Decatur County progress within a district. It is accessible and immediate,Schools (DCS), a district recognized for its strong featuring diverse tools that integrate well for thosecommitment to progressive and positive education. teaching academic content and electives, as well as for those in a leadership support role.”This is a small, rural system that serves 5,687 studentsin eight schools. It offers many opportunities for Suzanne Bonifay, EdDacademically skilled students in addition to state and Assistant Superintendent fornationally recognized plans for those at risk. Curriculum & Instruction 6-12 Decatur County Schools, GeorgiaFOCUSES An integral component of School Improvement Network’s Teacher Effectiveness System, PD 360 provides concreteDCS is determined to consistently give students an solutions for DCS concerns.outstanding education by making teacher growth astrong focal point. Its specific professional development Cost Efficiency(PD) concerns include the following: Dr. Bonifay finds PD 360 to be more economical for the district than traditional conferences by providing • Differentiated learning for teachers unlimited access; it is never just a one-shot training. • Building Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) PD 360 has completely met her concerns of finding professional learning that is high quality yet costA former principal and current DCS Assistant effective.Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction 6-12, Dr.Suzanne Bonifay has been keenly aware of the impact Large Library of Content/Current Topicshighly effective teachers have on student readiness and DCS educators easily find the help they need in thefelt the district required an updated, online resource 2,000+ fully indexed video segments that addressto meet the changing needs of educators. | | 800.572.1153
  2. 2. education’s most pertinent topics and have simple search IMPLEMENTATION AND DRIVING USAGEability. It is an advantage that School ImprovementNetwork is continually adding new programs to PD 360. The Decatur County Board of Education recognizes the importance of addressing the requisites of all teachers byConvenient Accessibility/Unlimited Viewing Capacity establishing, coordinating, and maintaining differentiatedDCS teachers are pleased to have the flexibility to professional learning programs.access PD 360 at home or work and are encouraged toconveniently take charge of their own learning. Educators Professional Learning Coordinatorsalso have unlimited access to view segments as many A professional learning coordinator is appointed at thetimes as they wish and as often as they require. district level and also within each school to direct and manage the teacher learning.Differentiated Learning for TeachersDr. Bonifay believes that teacher education, like classroom Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP)instruction, should meet a diversity of abilities and be Comprehensive school improvement plans that includeadaptive to evolving needs. With 2,000+ video segments professional learning components are individuallyon 125 topics from 120 experts, PD 360 ensures that developed and implemented by the professional learningteachers of every experience level can find individualized coordinators in the district and each to improve classroom strategies. Observations/EvaluationsProfessional Learning Communities Classroom observations are significant to teacherPLCs are an important part of teacher growth and PD evaluations and key to identifying areas of need. As a360 is a perfect tool for strengthening them. Groups school professional learning coordinator observes amay watch a video segment on the selected topic and classroom, specific PD 360 segment links relevant to thediscuss how to apply the practice in their classrooms needs of the teacher are recommended, providing easywhile the digitized Facilitator Guides provide group and effective follow-up.activities, discussion questions, lesson plans, and graphicorganizers. Professional Development Plans Teachers create their own professional development plans and incorporate PD 360 as a growth resource. TheABOUT PD 360 professional learning coordinator within each school helps determine personal evaluation expectationsPD 360 is the multi-award winning, online, on- and offers suggestions for pertinent PD 360 learningdemand professional learning resource within School opportunities.Improvement Network’s Teacher Effectiveness System.With 2,000+ videos on 125 topics from 120 experts, PD License Renewal360 has the largest online community of nearly one For certification renewal, Georgia calls for teachersmillion educators. It is the most comprehensive web- to earn 10 professional learning units every five years.based library of professional development resources One unit of credit is equivalent to 10 contact hours ofavailable. Teachers, administrators, professional learning formal instruction. Because of its easy accessibility, DCScommunities, coaches, mentors, instructional leaders, teachers are pleased that PD 360 usage can be appliedand paraprofessionals have available at their fingertips toward the required units.hundreds of indexed and searchable video segmentsthat present real, best-practice classroom examples andfeature respected education experts, such as Michael BENEFITSFullan, Rick DuFour, Doug Reeves, Rick Stiggins, andmany others. Educators can instantly find the help they PD 360 has rightfully earned its place in the DCSneed on nearly every topic, including differentiation, development plan as educators benefit from its manyassessment, English language learners, leadership, and advantages.more. It can be used to create a structured learningexperience for an individual teacher, a PLC, or even an Respected Expertsentire school. PD 360 and the Teacher Effectiveness DCS administrators and teachers are pleased that overSystem bridge the gap between training and classroom 120 respected experts are available at their fingertips,implementation with job-embedded follow-up, tracking, including Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Richard DuFour, Gayleand reflection tools. See a demonstration at www.pd360. Gregory, Michael Fullan, and Rick Stiggins. And it iscom. advantageous that they no longer have to wait for conferences to learn from acclaimed | | 800.572.1153
  3. 3. “Many variables shape Decatur County student Decatur County Schools, Georgia achievement, and PD 360 is definitely a favorable PD 360 Usage factor. When teachers can improve their instructional February 2011 – August 2012 effectiveness, there is a corresponding improvement in Collective Collective Collective student learning.” Registered Programs Segments Minutes Users Viewed Viewed Viewed Suzanne Bonifay, EdD 503 4,829 10,088 68,525 Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction 6-12 Decatur County Schools, GeorgiaReal Classroom ExamplesPD 360 programs feature a variety of real classroomexamples to illustrate strategy implementation. This is ABOUT SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORKfundamental for teachers learning how to incorporate the Founded in 1991 by teachers, School Improvementpractices into their own classrooms. Network has spent more time researching and documenting the best practices in education than anyConversation Trigger other organization in the world. From this research,PD 360 is a perfect conversation starter in PLCs and School Improvement Network has developed the Teacherstaff trainings. Watching a program as a group is an ideal Effectiveness System. The Teacher Effectiveness Systemstarting point for discussion among educators. outlines a step-by-step process to improve teacher practice, and arm educators with a set of powerfulTeacher Enthusiasm tools that can be used to complete each step. ResearchDCS educators have responded well to PD 360, as shown shows that districts and schools that use the tools in theby their high usage numbers. When teachers were asked Teacher Effectiveness System produce better teachers,if the district should continue to use it, they voiced a and as a result experience dramatic increases in studentunanimous “yes.” achievement, driving up student test scores by as much as 30% in a single year. School Improvement NetworkCONCLUSION works with thousands of schools and districts in every state and around the world and has visited over 3,500Dr. Bonifay is pleased to have PD 360’s online flexibility classrooms to document best practices in action. Learnand differentiated learning for teacher effectiveness. She more at that high-quality classroom instruction deliverslong-term gains for | | 800.572.1153