By the time this article is posted, the holiday season will be nearing an end. Gifts will have been opened, the shiny paper and bows tossed into the trash. Recipients of some gifts may be thinking about how they will “re-gift” certain items next Christmas and the novelty of new toys may be starting to wear off. Don’t misunderstand me….I love the holiday season and in my own naïve way, I wish that the magic of Christmas could last all year long. One way in which we might make that happen is to consider gifts that keep giving. A great example of this is the gift of learning.
The ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) spells out in detail the standards for high-quality professional learning experiences for educators. Notably, it uses the following terms when speaking about professional development: sustained, intensive, personalized, evidence-based and collaborative. Experience has shown that when professional development includes the above constructs it is likely to be embedded more quickly into teachers’ daily practice.
Mayerson Academy has taken these components to heart as we have designed, developed and implemented professional learning. Two clear examples of our commitment to these tenets immediately come to mind, the Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Reading Program and the Thriving Learning Communities initiative. Our Orton-Gillingham program includes nearly 100 contact hours (intensive), with embedded coaching and implementation practice included in all courses (personalized). This program meets the guidelines of the National Reading Panel and is accredited (evidence-based) by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Recently, we have accommodated the request of teams of teachers from one school who wish to participate in these classes as a group (collaborative). Our Orton-Gillingham program offers three levels of instruction, each building upon the previous class (sustained) and leading to higher levels of certification.
A second example of our commitment to the ESSA professional development standards is our Thriving Learning Communities initiative. This work is supported with multiple research citations related to the importance of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship-building and responsible decision-making (evidence-based). Participants learn about and reflect on their own character strengths (personalized), ultimately embedding a strengths-based focus in their classrooms. While the program includes face-to-face workshops, online coaching is available after each workshop (sustained) to ensure deep implementation over time. To achieve full implementation, school-based staff members work together to carry over the strengths-based focus to areas that extend beyond individual classrooms (collaborative).
As the professional learning partner for Cincinnati Public Schools, Mayerson Academy collaborated with district leadership to meet the professional learning needs of all employees. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Mayerson Academy issued 90, 162 professional contact hours to 3191 unique participants in 534 courses. This shows our commitment to professional learning support for educators. As we continue our work with Cincinnati Public Schools, we extend to other schools and districts an invitation to partner with us in order to meet your professional learning needs. We embrace the high-quality professional development standards as expressed in ESSA and we look forward to helping you meet them.