This past summer, the Calvin College educational leadership graduate course (EDUC 531) explored the topics of professional development and supervision. One of the outcomes of the course was a set of collectively constructed affirmations about professional development. The affirmations arose from the class activities, which included reading 1 and 2 Corinthians; discussing school vision, mission, and the development of a nurturing school culture; reviewing research on school change; and analyzing data on professional development that had been collected by the class.
The participants in this course were Andy Alblas, John Barkel, Jessica Brooks, Hubert Chen, Justin Cook, Ben Iwema, Tae Hun Jin, John Kranenborg, Charis Larson, Rick Mingerink, Eric Pols, Maria Van Dyk, Kristin van Eyk, Kevin Vos, Guana Walton, Jacquie Willson, and Albert Boerema (professor).
Affirmation 1: The professional development program and activities arise from the vision and mission of the school.
A clearly defined vision and mission critically affect the success of a school’s professional development program. School staff members need and appreciate clearly articulated shared goals. If it’s been a number of years since a school has reviewed its vision and mission, perhaps it’s helpful to think about it in this way: visioning imagines the future, and the mission explores the avenues the school should follow to achieve its vision. A professional development program is part of the mission, and the vision provides the framework for the development goals of the staff. Professional development, in addition to benefitting teachers, should advance the goals of the school.
Affirmation 2: The professional development activities are shaped by good principles of learning.