Improving Quality Teaching through Continuous Professional Learning

Highlights from the past two weeks:


  • A successful Dry Grad on April 29;
  • Grade 7 Day at JO on May 1;
  • Prom on May 2;
  • A well organized “Big One at Two” on May 7th;
  • And the following students being recognized at the City of Vancouver Youth Awards: Sifti Bhullar, Linda Chen, Gurjot Dhaliwal, Kiran Dhaliwal, Jason Araya, Brittney Sharma and Jamie Castillon.

In my mind, the most significant action we can take with regard to professional development is to provide meaningful and engaging programs that respect the intelligence and good will of staff. The conditions in which we work can be trying. Therefore we need to create environments in which we can form strong collaborative relationships with our peers and in which we can continue to learn about ourselves and our students.


On Wednesday, April 29th, we spent our Pro-D day discussing the topic of grading practices – one more step in our collective journey towards evaluating our professional practices.  The day was memorable not for any “end product” but rather for the processes of shared dialogue it celebrated and the importance it placed on the merits of professional reflection.   More than anything else, the discussions we shared served to reinforce the well documented contention that it is continuous professional learning that increases, expands, and improves quality teaching:  it is the most significant factor in whether students learn well.


This week’s article, “Assessment for Understanding: Taking a Deeper Look,” looks at how some schools are incorporating the use of performance assessments other than traditional tests to both instruct and gauge students’ learning. The author, Roberta Furger, focusing on two schools, Urban Academy in New York and Mount Lake Terrace High School near Seattle, reveals how performance assessments give students the experience “of being tested the way historians, mathematicians, museum curators, scientists, and journalists are tested in the workplace.” 




In reading articles like this and engaging in professional development with all of you, I am constantly reminded of the many reasons we entered the teaching profession – from the desire to engage with intellectual work to the hope of changing students’ lives to the belief in the democratic potential of public education.


Have a nice weekend.