Professional Development Done Your Way: P.D. Possibilities Series

In organizing my thoughts for this post, I revisited Tara’s post, PD Possibilities Blog Series. Here, Tara introduces the upcoming topics for this series. As I read the list, I couldn’t help notice how valuable PD includes all the topics listed for our series. While anyone of the subjects can stand alone and provide us opportunities to rise to the teacher, coach, or administrator we inspire to be, it’s also true any combination of the PD topics can make the experience even richer.

As Betsy shared in her post, so much of my PD comes from talking with my team, visiting other classrooms, and those unexpected hallway conversations throughout the week. Being present and open to these moments has big changes in my practice. Today, my professional development isn’t limited to a grade level, building or even my position as teacher, coach, or administrator. With tools like Twitter, Google Hangout, Voxer, Facebook, blogs, online book talks, and other social media platforms we as educators are free to design PD to fit our ever-changing needs.

In my district, we have an impressive day of PD offered two times per year. Our PD day is fondly named Hilliard University or “Hilliard U.”  #HilliardU brings the essential elements of professional development together in one event.

Hilliard U is made up of presentations by teachers of various grade levels and subject areas, academic coaches, related arts teachers, administration and well-known professionals in our field. As participants, we design our day by choosing from a variety of breakout sessions offered or take advantage of a collaboration room to work with colleagues. Keynote speakers are also part of our day and provide a central focus for our district and the work we are entrusted to do with our students.

Hilliard U is reminiscent of high school and college, the best of both all rolled into one Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.11.02 PMgreat day! We are building our knowledge in areas we have chosen while seeing familiar faces in our sessions and in the halls. While sitting in the different presentations it’s easy to see others who want to learn about the same thing you do.This makes it easy to grow your personal learning network. Hilliard U even has food trucks throughout the parking lot where we can grab a bite to eat while sharing and reflecting on our thinking with colleagues.

Hilliard University models the rights and responsibilities Kathleen discusses in her post, Classroom Teachers; Rights and Responsibilities. The choice, movement, and passion of all involved make this a day our district looks forward to in enriching our teaching, our learning, and our professionalism. I can’t say enough about my appreciation of Brian Lidle and the team of dedicated thinkers, learners and professionals who make Hilliard U the experience it is!

Read More About Hilliard U on Cathy Mere’s post, Building a Learning Community by Cathy Mere

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