Springboard professional development for teachers in the Colonial School District, New Castle, DE
Author(s)Johnson, Katelyn Lea
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Preparing students to be successful in high school AP courses and exams begins at the middle school level. SpringBoard is a program created by the CollegeBoard to bridge content expected in high school with the current middle school curriculum. SpringBoard was introduced and piloted in the Colonial School District during the 2014-2015 school year and has been used in all three middle schools since. Currently, there are few implementation expectations and no professional development offered for SpringBoard teachers in the district. For students to get the most out of an educational program, teachers must first be prepared to deliver the program with fidelity. ☐ This portfolio examines the relationship between online and face-to-face professional development modules and changes in teachers’ practices and understandings as captured and analyzed through online and face-to-face discussions, real-time classroom observations, and feedback garnered through surveys and focus groups. I created online professional development modules, using the platform Schoology, for six SpringBoard teachers from three different middle schools in the district. I used best practice literature to create engaging professional development, which augmented the commonly used, one-time professional development training session with no follow-up support. I modeled my online modules around the “SpringBoard Train the Trainers” conference I attended in April of 2016, where I was officially titled as a SpringBoard trainer who could provide professional development. ☐ I used a number of instruments to determine if my professional development improvement strategy was successful. I collected data through participant surveys, walkthrough observations, post-observation debrief sessions, and online discussions to determine if the professional development modules had any positive relationship on teachers’ SpringBoard instructional practices. I observed and held post-observation debriefing sessions for each teacher two times; once before any professional development was given, and once after they completed the Schoology modules. Through these meaningful conversations with participants during my data collection, I was able to gain knowledge on their performance and use the time to give support and suggestions. ☐ Overall, data analyses show that there was a positive relationship with my professional development modules and improvement in teachers’ practices and understandings. Using the walkthrough observation tool, almost all (5/6) participants improved in multiple areas from the first to second observation. Similarly, participants’ testimonials provided evidence that the professional development modules were professionally enriching and supported implementation of SpringBoard. After implementation of professional development, there were an overwhelming number of successes and a relatively small number of continuing instructional challenges faced by the SpringBoard teachers. ☐ My recommendations to the district are; to revise the professional development modules I created and make it mandatory for all SpringBoard teachers to complete, determine expectations for SpringBoard teachers and provide adequate planning time, create a teacher network group using Schoology for SpringBoard teachers to collaborate, provide support at the building level, and create a quality control system to hold SpringBoard teachers and students accountable and provide a feedback loop for continuous improvement. If implemented with fidelity, SpringBoard can very likely be leveraged to serve the original purpose of improving student achievement on AP scores.
University of Delaware, School of Education