Alternate Professional Learning

The Story Behind the Alternate PL Presentation

The WHY:

We have all experienced ineffective professional learning. For the past few years, our Instructional Leadership Team has tried to infuse fresh life into the required professional development by making it as entertaining and “bearable” for our staff as possible. After reflecting on the past year of educating and supporting our students through the pandemic, there were many victories to be recalled and celebrated. But it also allowed us to reflect and connect on how we learned during the 20-21 school year and how that might be applied for our staff professional learning as well to make it more engaging, deeper and beneficial to our teachers.  Michelle and I designed the concept of this video to be lighthearted, personal, positive and uplifting – nothing too flashy or complicated. The ultimate goal of this presentation was to make evident that we saw success in some of our additional support endeavors last year and that our students – the teaching staff – also deserve the extra attention and refocus that was successfully provided to our students during the pandemic. The presentation will be delivered via email to our Instructional Leadership Team to give them something to process as they rest up over the summer.  We are directly targeting the HEARTS of our team members. Since we typically meet in late July to firm up the details of our professional development for the upcoming school year, the hope is that the Leadership Team could use this down time to begin reframing, rethinking and brainstorming our call to action to move into more effective professional LEARNING!


Using the 5 Principles of Effective Professional Development, we emphasized and expanded on the key points within our presentation video including extending the duration of the training and the need for ongoing support throughout the school year. Collaboration, modeling as well as verifying that the context and content is specific to our participants was also emphasized as these will bring about more effective professional learning for our teachers. We provided suggestions and prompting questions for each of these principles within the presentation to really start the brain juices to flow! Michelle and I first outlined the points we wanted to emphasize, then wrote out a detailed script. We toyed with several scenarios and technology options but decided upon using the program Renderforest to create our presentation. Our school district recently purchased this online branding program so that our Leadership Team could quickly and easily put together engaging electronic presentations to share with parents, staff and the community. There are thousands of settings and templates to choose from but that can also be problematic as it is quite time-consuming to sort through, add and edit to create the ideal presentation. We also chose to use voice-over versus typing out our script as we believe it makes it more personal and engaging. Here is a screenshot of the Renderforest video creation tool:

The HOW:


Duarte, Inc. (2009, December 16). Five Simple Rules for Creating World Changing Presentations [Video]. YouTube.

Nancy Duarte: How to Tell a Story. (2013, March 21). [Video]. YouTube.

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the teachers effective professional development in an era of high stakes accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from

Heather Hill. (2015). Review of The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth about Our Quest for Teacher Development. Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved from

Innovation That Sticks Case Study – OCSB: Collaborative Professional Development. (2016, May 19). Retrieved from

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