Original Date: 08/08/1994
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Staff Development Seminars
The primary means for providing for staff development and professional growth is the Staff Development Seminars Program. This program promotes the professional growth of teachers while also addressing the needs of students. It is a multi-faceted program for teachers and guest presenters to share information, ideas, and techniques with their peers.
In most Virginia school systems, teacher professional development is addressed by requiring teachers to attend two days of in-service seminars or workshops during the school year. The in-service seminars are conducted on dedicated teacher days and are usually large scale sessions addressing broad areas. While this training helps teachers meet requirements for maintaining state licensing and certification requirements, it does not effectively meet the specific needs of individual teachers, schools, and their students.
In 1990, Stafford implemented the Staff Development Seminars program that includes training programs and activities to improve skills, attitudes, understandings, and performance of staff in present and future roles. The number of seminars offered has grown from 122 in the 1991-1992 school year to 247 different seminars offered during the 1993-1994 school year.
Seminars are offered in learning styles, teaming for instruction, cooperative learning, the writing process, study skills, application of technology, mainstreaming/differentiating instruction, classroom management/student motivation, integrated language arts instruction, student assessment, social issues/educational impact, math/sciences initiatives, and content specific initiatives.
Teachers must take two seminars each year. The seminars are offered throughout the year including Saturdays, Sundays, evenings, and summer vacation. This allows teachers to "opt-out" of the scheduled contract days for in-service training by taking seminars when they want, or at more convenient times. The variety of seminars makes it possible to effectively meet specific development needs of individuals as well as the school system needs for staff development.
Comprehensive catalogues listing seminar descriptions and schedules are published for Fall, Spring, and Summer sessions. Each seminar that a teacher attends counts as one in-service day, and teachers receive appropriate points toward recertification. The seminars are conducted by school staff and outside consultants. Staff members who teach seminars may fulfill the requirement for attendance at one seminar for each seminar taught. Seminar size is normally limited to 25 participants with the emphasis on hands-on, personalized learning experiences.
Stafford uses a commercially available software package called Professional Development Manager Plus to manage the information needed to administer the Staff Development Seminars program. It maintains all the program information, tracks registration and attendance, generates schedules, tracks recertification points accrued, generates required reports and letters, produces consultant contracts, and produces the seminar catalogue book.
The Staff Development Seminars program has proven to be more effective in meeting staff development needs than the traditional in-service approach. It is highly regarded by the teachers because of the variety and quality of seminar offerings and the personalized, hands-on approach. The number of participants for each specific need area for seminars offered in 1993-94 indicates the diversity of interests (see graphic). It also offers a great deal of flexibility for scheduling and for adapting to the changing needs of the school system and individual staff members.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.