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Quality Standard #5: Participation
The system of training and development defines relevant roles for all stakeholders.
"Staff development that improves the learning of all students organizes adults into learning communities where goals are aligned with those of the schools and district."
Our commitment to all Maine learners requires a shared vision - no small feat in a profession inclined toward individualism and isolation. For training and development to fulfill its promise, everyone must play a part. Principals and superintendents must facilitate and empower, developing a culture that validates and celebrates training and development and ensures alignment with the organization's goals. Teachers must support and learn from each other, providing the insights and information only they - from their position on education's front lines - can give. School boards, voters, and town councils must insist on continuous improvement, but also deliver the resources such improvement demands. Curriculum coordinators must convene planning groups, keep them focused, and spearhead implementation of the activities planned.
Students, too, can supply valuable insights. Many Maine school units, using surveys, exit interviews, and teacher evaluations, ask older students to evaluate changes in classroom methods. Teachers can then draw on this information to reflect upon and further refine their practice.
The best approaches to training and development honor and incorporate local strengths. Certainly, these initiatives underscore educators' professional talents. They also invite the energy, intelligence, skills, and knowledge of board members, parents, businesspeople, retirees - indeed, everyone with a stake in the success of our schools. In some Maine communities, school board members attend training and development workshop similar to those offered for teachers. This can be an important step toward building community support.
In the final analysis, training and development are most effective when administrators, teachers, support staff, and school boards "own" the programs, accepting the concept of lifelong learning as a core value.
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