Professional Growth System

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Master's February 2008

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Sharon Cromwell's article focuses on a recently developed program called the Professional Growth System. The program was implemented in the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. Its focus was to improve the quality of teaching and learning by supporting teachers in their professional growth. As with any evaluation system, it had to include real opportunities for teachers to improve their performance while also dismissing those who never would meet the district's standards. The teachers have determined the short-range success. They have recognized that the professional standards and expectations can be raised and improved while they remain an active part of the process. The long-range success will be measured by student performance. But at the time when this article was published, the results were too early to use as a standard.

The history of its conception is quite simple. However the implementation has been ingenious. In 1997, the county board of education made changes that would allow the changes based on recommendations from a county task force, the local education association, and hired consultants.

The district teachers union and administrators association were also involved in the discussions to work out a new system of evaluations. Basically, they determined that expert staff-development specialists would coordinate the training pieces. A full-time teacher in each school would be appointed at the staff development teacher and each school must approve a specific amount of substitute time to release teachers for professional growth activities. In each school, there would be a group of consulting teachers known as "CTs." They must meet strict standards and will then be used to help improve the new or underperforming teacher's instructional skills. If improvements are not seen, then probationary teachers are not re-hired and a tenured teacher can be dismissed. The CTs have a huge impact on whether or not...