In the Buena Vista School District, we believe POWERFUL TEACHERS are the foundation of success. Every child deserves teachers who are student-centered, invested, reflective, and and positive role models of character and life-ling learning (7 C’s). For this reason, the district invests significant time, energy, and financial resources to support teachers in their continued professional learning.
Challenging and Responsive: The core of professional learning in the district is on-going staff support to ensure instruction is both challenging and responsive to the needs of our students. We refer to this work as Intentional Design. Teachers work individually and collaboratively to design high quality lessons that challenge thinking and stretch skills, and then systematically monitor student growth and achievement toward these targets through the use of formative and summative assessments. Teachers use the BVSD C-TACHs (Content Targets and Assessment Checklists) to develop these high quality lessons. Fostering student mindsets and personal commitment to growth is also foundational in professional learning aimed at challenge. Teachers use varied strategies, flexible groups, and feedback to be responsive.
Intentional Design Academy (IDA): Our district mission is: The Buena Vista School District community exists to ensure every student reach the PEAK OF SUCCESS. A challenging curriculum, emphasizing critical thinking skills and responsive to the needs of individual learners is the foundation to accomplish this mission. The Intentional Design Academy [IDA] is the established and evidence-based system used across the district to focus on-going opportunities for teachers to grow in their skills and reflective practices to intentionally design, using the curriculum as the tool, challenging and responsive opportunities for all students.
There are eight elements that guide the Intentional Design Academy [IDA]. These eight elements are used by individual teachers to set professional learning goals and support is provided by district and building leadership in advancing skill and practice in each of these areas. Teachers receive feedback focused on the consistency and fluency in which these elements are implemented into their professional practice as part of their annual evaluation. A description of the eight elements is found here.
Collective Efficacy: Collective Efficacy is the shared belief of staff in their ability to positively impact students. John Hattie and his team have presented Collective Teacher Efficacy (CTE) as the “new number one” influence related to student achievement. For this reason, fostering collective efficacy drives professional learning in the district. This includes both personal reflective practices and collaborative, transparent sharing of impacts of instruction. One primary structure to foster collective efficacy is through a reflective inquiry process. Every teacher creates a professional growth plan (PGP) annually. These reflective plans are formatted as personal inquiry questions selected by the teacher. It represents a "tension" or dilemma the teacher faces in his/her teaching. Throughout the year, the teacher reads, observes, experiments, collects, and analyzes data both individually and with colleagues to move forward in the problem of practice.
The following bullets serve as guiding beliefs underpinning all professional learning in the district:
- Occurs in spaces of optimism Joy, social connection, active engagement, and internal control
- Fosters a culture of learning and reflection
- Builds collective language and as a result, sense of belonging and contribution
- Impacts Students
- Is aimed at collective efficacy: Empowering teachers and so ultimately students
- Is a source of renewal
- Is on-going and embedded in the system
- Grounded in a core set of beliefs and priorities…it is is INTENTIONAL