Staff Development Trends

A number of factors clearly impact the success of a good staff development program. Several emerging trends are being utilized to be key success factors.

The online content and delivery is an upcoming solution to supplying educators a twenty first century method to participate in staff development. The school districts do not have content to put online since in the past most staff development was conducted face-to-face. The staff development programs also have to embrace a Learning Management System to house their content to be delivered in an online format. One of the best learning management system is Moodle, which was developed as a constructivist model for kindergarten through grade 12.

State and federal regulations are factors that will drive the direction of staff development for the next several years. The federal government’s No Child Left Behind legislation is certain to impact staff development programs. Many states have implemented their own guidelines which sometimes are more stringent than the federal government guidelines.

Many school districts have started community and adult education as a revenue and profit generating entity. The money generated by the community staff development can be used in helping fund their internal staff development programs.

One of most important trend for staff development is technology. By applying a comprehensive staff development management system, school districts can move from a good program to a great program. The challenge for school districts is to weigh their technology choices. Some of the questions that need to be address are: Which software should the district choose? What capabilities are must have and which are nice to have? How does the system support district reporting requirements?

1. The data reveal some interesting trends within the area of staff development in public school districts. There is a variety of approaches to staff development that is mandated by design and focus, allocation of budget, degree of proficiency and the use of technology.

2. Most districts offer courses to instructional and administrative staff but only two-thirds offer training to management level personnel.

3. Approximately 40% of districts have a formalized community education or adult education program. Although interest in online course offerings was noted, only a small number of districts reported using any online courses. Most still rely on the old traditional on-site model.

4. Most school districts cite the NCLB legislation as having an impact on their staff development plans.

Since research shows that the most significant factor in student achievement is the teacher then all the trends need to address this factor. The focus of all staff development needs to work toward improving the school’s instructional practices. In conclusion, some of the emerging trends that will be implemented will be online content, delivery of training, and community involvement. These factors will improve public education and in particular student achievement.