P.S. 721R Hungerford School,
Staten Island, NY
The practice: Professional development should incorporate evaluation of multiple sources of information on (a) outcomes for students and (b) the instruction and other processes that are involved in implementing the lessons learned.
Professional development should involve teachers in the identification of what they need to learn and in the development of the learning experiences in which they will be involved.
Hungerford's professional development plan is designed to meet the needs of all staff. Using annual needs assessments, the school establishes goals and the plan to achieve those goals. The needs assessments are one way to ensure that the school is focusing on the needs of all students and not just a particular population of students. They also ensure that all staff members needs are addressed. With so many diverse educational and support staff at Hungerford, the needs assessments provide frequent opportunities for all staff members' needs to be identified and addressed.
Several types of assessments are used to
identify needs essential to student success. A
professional development needs assessment, a
comprehensive school education plan, and a staff
self-assessment provide information on the needs
identified by staff and parents as priorities. From
these data sources, annual school priorities are
determined. For example in 1997-98, the school's
priority was students' literacy skills. Ongoing
assessment of needs has helped Hungerford stay
on target toward its mission of increasing its
students' academic achievement, social ability,
and independent functioning.