Effective Professional Development at a Private K–12 school
This research study focuses on the professional development needs of a private Christian K–12 school, Texas Christian School (a pseudonym). The new president of TCS, Dr. Post, believes there is a need to improve the academic program and pedagogy of the faculty. The literature suggests that professional development, when targeted, can be effective and have a direct impact on improving teaching, and indirectly, on student outcomes such as student achievement. This quality improvement project aims to uncover the attitudes, perceptions, and needs around professional development at TCS. A quantitative electronic survey was sent to all faculty and had a completion rate of 72%. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made to Texas Christian School to improve its professional learning program. 1)Formalize the vision for a structured professional development program, allowing faculty members to have a greater level of choice by providing individualized learning plans. 2)Implement a peer coaching model to include opportunities for collaborative professional development, practice new skills, and gather feedback. 3)Create K–12 professional learning communities in which the chairs are content experts, thus providing professional development within the learning community. Both the literature and the research reveal that collaborative learning through professional development is a key component that affects all aspects of a school’s capacity. This research study provides Dr. Post with insight into what she might include when designing a new professional development program at TCS that will lead to increased school capacity and positive student outcomes.