RI Statewide Professional Development I-Plans
The practice: Professional development should be continuous and on-going, involving follow-up and support for further learning, including support from sources external to the school that can provide necessary resources and new perspectives.
In 1997, a state decision to end life certification for educators prompted the design of a new professional development program in Rhode Island. This program
Teachers, administrators, and other certified school professionals in Rhode Island public schools are now being given the opportunity to participate in a pilot program for re-certification. Through the I-Plan program, they identify their own goals and formulate a unique professional development plan to meet those goals. Rather than simply attending isolated workshops led by outside experts or university courses that sometimes have little relevance to their classroom needs, teachers are encouraged to participate in ongoing, job-embedded professional development that touches the lives of their students and colleagues directly: activities like serving on school improvement teams, mentoring new teachers, or participating in action research projects.
Participants in the program rave about its flexibility and its validation of school-based professional development. Its extensive state-level support system, including I-Plan coaches and plan reviewers, provides educators with the necessary information and feedback to make wise choices about how to spend their professional development time. In turn, the program benefits from the feedback and continuing involvement of participants; the I-Plan Fellows -- former teachers who coordinate the program -- revise its operations as it grows bigger, and they recruit and train I-Planners to become coaches and reviewers. Though the I-Plan program is still small and relatively new, it has won praise from participants and support from key educational organizations.
To view the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's I-Plan web page, click on this link: http://www.ridoe.net/teacher_cert/iplans.
This site also exemplifies the following practice(s):