Professional growth plans must be submitted each fall; online planning service now available
Teachers have a professional responsibility to keep abreast of new developments in education and to continue to develop their professional practice. In Alberta, every teacher employed by a school system must develop and implement an annual plan for professional growth that outlines the professional development activities the teacher intends to undertake in that year. The requirements for an annual teacher professional growth plan (TPGP) are outlined in the Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy of Alberta Education. That policy places the responsibilities for professional growth alongside provisions for teacher supervision and for evaluations. The TPGP is an important component of the policy that ensures teachers are maintaining the Teaching Quality Standard.
The policy states that all teachers under probationary or continuing contract must complete an annual TPGP and submit it to their principal for review. The plan has to reflect goals and objectives based on an assessment of learning needs by the individual teacher. It has to show a demonstrable relationship to the Teaching Quality Standard, and it must take into consideration the education plans of the school, school division and the government.
The content of a growth plan cannot be used as part of an evaluation process, but teachers who do not complete their plan may be subject to disciplinary action.
The ATA believes that growth plans should be self-authored and that teachers should not be expected to adopt specific goals or formats for their individual growth plans. The Association has developed a self-paced online planning tutorial to help teachers develop their own professional growth plans. The tutorial takes teachers through steps that help them review policy regulations, reflect on their own professional practice, develop their growth plan and prepare for a successful review. That tutorial can be accessed with the URL: http://bit.ly/TPGPtutorial.
Online professional growth planning service
The ATA, with financial support from Alberta Education, has developed a new comprehensive online professional growth planning service as part of a pilot project to enhance online services for teachers and school leaders’ professional growth planning. The project is led by the Association with planning and development assistance from an advisory committee of representatives from other stakeholders in Alberta’s education system. The project launched with a teacher tool based upon the Teaching Quality Standard in the fall of 2014. This year, the service has been expanded to include the school leadership competencies for principals and assistant principals.
The service provides teachers and school leaders with robust tools for growth planning while ensuring that they have links to information about professional development opportunities. The online tool provides a one-stop opportunity to participate in guided self-reflection based on the requisite knowledge, skills and attributes associated with the Teaching Quality Standard or the professional practice competencies for school leaders; and to access a template for creating, storing and tracking progress related to yearly growth plans. There are currently five schools and 110 teachers involved in the second year of a two-year field test and study of the project.
This year, due to the success of the tool, the online service is open to adding additional interested teachers and/or school leaders. Those who wish to sign up can do so by using the URL http://bit.ly/OnlinePGP.
Questions about the online service can be directed to Mark Yurick, Co-ordinator, Professional Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org. ❚