Professional development is an integral component of our program. It is through professional conversation, collaboration and exposure to new ideas that teachers develop new skills and hone expertise to meet student needs. Professional development is a key tool in ensuring innovative and effective curriculum delivery.
A variety of sessions and activities are organized and delivered throughout the school year with particular areas of focus that are aligned with the DAIS school improvement plan. Not only is professional development linked to high levels of student learning, but it is significant in building teacher and school capacity for learning and leading.
Teacher Professional Growth Plans
Each year, teachers and administrators are responsible for developing, implementing and completing a professional growth plan that is teacher/administrator authored, and growth-directed. The growth profiles present an assessment of individual professional learning needs as well as show a demonstrable relationship between quality teaching and learning at DAIS.
Designated Professional Development
During the year, faculty members are able to participate in targeted professional learning opportunities on designated days. A school professional development calendar is developed each year with teacher and administrative input. DAIS faculty members also attend workshops and conferences in order to extend their own professional learning that can be shared with others.
Professional Learning Community
At DAIS, teachers strive to work toward creating a true learning community, a forum in which each embraces the privilege and responsibility of learning individually and collectively. The purpose is to improve thinking and practice in the service of supporting both teacher and student learning. Topics for investigation are both administrative and teacher generated and results are shared with other staff members.
A weekly communication memo contains current literature, research or data that encourages teachers to reflect and improve their own practice. Teacher reflection is encouraged and a response to two articles is required. Responses, individual or collaborative, are printed in the following memos for all to read and consider. New trends in education, instructional strategies and assessment practices are covered in a very relevant manner to enhance teacher knowledge and application.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, Faculty of Education Partnership.
DAIS has a strong belief that to maintain excellent service to our students, the organization must be committed to continuous improvement. This demands on-going evaluation of the school’s current practices and developing a response to areas of identified areas for change. One of the key partners in ensuring our professional practice is current and properly in-serviced is the positive relationship DAIS has maintained with Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. Since the fall of 2015 professors from the Faculty of Education have visited annually, providing on-site training to our teaching staff. Some topics that have been addressed have included applying differentiated learning in the classroom, applying peer coaching for professional growth, integrating Google Classroom into regular classroom practice and the creation of effective literacy programs in the classroom. The in-service provided to DAIS through this partnership addresses specific targeted areas that are determined through data informed decision making.
Over time, a reciprocal professional partnership has evolved. DAIS receives Canadian students who are working towards becoming certified Ontario teachers. During these four week training placements, visiting university students work in the classroom with DAIS teachers. They become familiar with the curriculum, planning and teaching practices that take place in our international school. In addition, DAIS has hired teachers who have been certified by the university. These expat staff have been a welcome addition to the school.
The partnership continues to grow and we welcome our next professional project together.