“Teacher Professional Growth” means the career-long learning process whereby a teacher annually develops and implements a plan to achieve professional learning objectives or goals that are consistent with the Teaching Quality Standard. Source: Alberta Education Policy 2.1.5 (Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation)
“Professional Development” means practices and activities teachers do individually or collectively further understand the nature of teaching and learning, enhance professional practice and contribute to the profession. These activities provide opportunities for growth in knowledge, skills and attributes leading to improved practice. Professional development includes a broad range of activities.
“Teacher Professional Growth Plan” means a plan, developed by a teacher, which outlines the teacher’s proposed professional development activities to enhance their teaching practice.
“Teaching Quality Standard” means the statement which describes competent teaching practice in Alberta and is supported by descriptors of selected knowledge, skills and attributes appropriate to teachers at difference stages in their careers. The Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) applies to teacher certification, professional development, supervision and evaluation processes. Source: Alberta Education Directive 4.2.1 (Teaching Quality Standard Applicable to the Provision of Basic Education in Alberta.
"Principal Quality Practice" refers to the working draft which describes competent school leadership practice in Alberta, the seven leadership dimensions and supporting descriptor designed to guide principal preparation and recruitment, professional growth, supervision and evaluation. Principal Quality Practice: Successful School Leadership in Alberta
Teacher Professional Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy (Policy 2.1.5)
Note: All certificated staff, including school principals and central office professional staff, are governed by this policy.
Summary of Policy Requirements:
- Each teacher employed under a probationary or continuing contract is responsible for completing an annual professional growth plan.
- The plan is submitted for review or approval to the principal or group of teachers delegated by the principal.
- The plan may be a component of a long-term, multi-year plan or may be fulfilled by mentoring a teacher or supervising a student teacher.
- Each teacher will meet annually with the principal or delegated group of teachers to review the plan and in consultation decide whether the teacher has completed an annual growth plan that reflects the following requirements:
- the teacher’s self-assessment of learning needs
- the Teaching Quality Standard
- consideration of the educational plans of the school, system and government.
Understanding the Context
Teachers must consider the context in which they practice when they develop their professional growth plans. The context in which teachers carry out their teaching duties is in constant flux. No two days are the same. The students bring with them their latest joys and sorrows. Weather changes. Schools and communities suffer crises that affect the everyday operation of the school.
The Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) recognizes the importance of context when determining competent teaching in Alberta. In judging whether the TQS is being met, the context in which the teacher is practising is of utmost importance. If you are teaching in an urban area, you work in a different context than a teacher in a rural area. If you are a first-year teacher, your challenges are different than those of an experienced teacher. A new curriculum, changing grade levels or changing schools can be as challenging for experienced teachers as for new teachers. Class composition, the number of students and their learning needs combine to produce a unique context in every classroom.
The TQS states:
All teachers are expected to meet the Teaching Quality Standard throughout their careers. However, teaching practices will vary because each teaching situation is different and in constant change. Reasoned judgement must be used to determine whether the Teaching Quality Standard is being met in a given context.
Quality teaching occurs when the teacher’s ongoing analysis of the context and the teacher’s decisions about which pedagogical knowledge and abilities to apply result in optimum learning by students.
Principal Quality Practice is defined as:
"The principal is an accomplished teacher who practices quality leadership in the provision of opportunities for optimum learning and development of all students in the school."
Reasoned, evidence-based, professional judgement must be used to determine whether Principal Quality Practice is demonstrated in a given context.
In developing a professional growth plan, the teacher and principal must consider the education plans of the school, jurisdiction and Alberta Education.