Robert DiMedio's teachers called traditional PD Days “Teacher-Jail” — but that was all about to change…

 

School: Holy Cross Academy
State: New Jersey
Number of Teachers: 33
Number of Administrators/Staff: 11
SimpleK12 Members Since: September 2017
Administrator: Robert DiMedio, Assistant Principal

 


Goal:

Empowering every teacher to be the very best teacher they can be and provide them with the necessary support they deserve.

DiMedio: “I truly believe that if I want to make better teachers I have to (1) be able to identify the practices that they needed to improve upon, and (2) make it convenient for them.”

 

Challenge:

Providing relevant professional development (PD) to a staff with varying levels of experience, strengths, and struggles. Personalizing PD to fit each teacher’s unique needs and not wasting their time.

DiMedio: “There’s no one-size fits all PD… it’s like buying 30 Medium Shirts and expecting them to fit everyone. It may fit the bulk of them okay, but a lot of people feel left out.”

 

Before SimpleK12:

Traditional PD days consisted of the same topic for all teachers. Attendance was low due to lack of teacher engagement. Teachers dissatisfied with the one-size-fits-all approach.

DiMedio : “…our traditional training day might be great for 80 percent but irrelevant for 20 percent. I felt like I could cover some things, but never get anything perfect.”

SimpleK12’s “PD in Your PJs” model fit his school’s needs perfectly, was easy to implement, and essentially eliminated his school’s absentee problem on PD days.

DiMedio: “The teachers who truly care about professional development now can say ‘Hey, I finally am learning what I want to learn,’ and the teachers who are having struggles are feeling like they’re finally getting a life vest that fits them.”


1.) I Choose/You Choose Model – Teachers watch one required webinar on a school-wide topic and then are able to choose a webinar that is relevant and interesting to them.
2.) Formal Observations – Administrators send training webinars to teachers based on that individual’s needs, as determined by a formal observation.
3.) PLCs – Teachers are encouraged to complete more Personal Learning Credits on their own time and share resources with each other.
4.) Learning groups – Teachers gather together in groups to listen to webinars together and then discuss implementation afterward.
5.) Parent/Teacher Conferences – Teachers watched SimpleK12 webinars on dealing with difficult parents prior to conferences. They were able to implement what they learned and the parents noticed a positive change in their interaction.

 

  • Teacher attendance on traditional professional development days increased by 43 percent
  • 93 percent school-wide participation with the SimpleK12 program
  • Noticeable increase in teacher engagement
  • Parents commented on improvement in parent/teacher communication
  • Personalized training for teachers after classroom observations
  • Increased training participation by Department chairs during staff meetings
  • Noticeable increase in Google proficiency
  • More independent, self-directed professional development completion
  • Teachers able to identify better technologies in the classroom
  • Over 1,171 webinars watched in the first 4 months
  • More than 582+ hours of training completed independently in the first 4 months