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San Mateo Un HSD |  AR  4131  Personnel

Professional Development   

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Design and Focus

An effective school is a place where all students and staff learn and grow. Thus, professional development is a learning process to be practiced daily, both collaboratively and individually, in the continuous improvement of student achievement. This learning process requires the educator to:

1. Select a content/skill standard;

2. Develop assessments that measure student progress and guide instruction;

3. Design instruction to meet the standard;

4. Implement targeted instruction to focus on the standard;

5. Examine student work/data to evaluate progress toward achieving the standard and use results to inform further decisions.

This design process is the focus of every professional development opportunity at all levels: individual, team, site and district.

Individual Educators


Each educator identifies an area for individual professional growth in accord with the common goal of increased student achievement.


1. Regularly assess strengths and areas for growth;

2. Based on this personal assessment, select an area of focus for the year (This may be the standard selected for evaluation);

3. Assess and document progress and readjust goals, as appropriate, during the year;

4. Select and collaborate with at least one learning team each year.

5. Activities could include but are not limited to the following:

6. Observe and analyze teaching practice of others during release time;

7. Design a standards-based unit/project/activity which will be shared with others;

8. Implement instructional strategies learned at a conference/workshop.

Learning Teams


Learning teams consist of educators collaborating in a variety of configurations including, but not limited to:

1. Across subject areas sharing a common cohort;

2. By grade level within a single subject area;

3. In vertical teams within a subject area.


1. Address a topic aligned with a district or schoolwide focus;

2. Work collaboratively using the cycle of inquiry to improve student achievement;

3. Share findings and future plans with a school site professional development committee.

Activities could include but are not limited to the following:

1. Observe other classes/teachers, meet to discuss best practices and plan for


2. Design standards-based units of instruction;

3. Create inter-disciplinary units;

4. Develop alternative instructional strategies;

5. Develop common assessments in a variety of forms.



1. A joint committee of teachers and administrators administers schoolwide professional development. This responsibility may be part of the work of a Site Council or Leadership Team, or it may be the work of a separate committee which communicates regularly with school leadership groups. The majority of members of any such committee must be teachers.

2. Teacher members of this professional development committee are selected by peers in a process approved by Association building representatives.

3. Teacher members serve no more than three consecutive years in order to build a broad base of teacher leadership and participation.


1. Involve all stakeholders;

2. Gather schoolwide student achievement data;

3. Recommend areas of focus for upcoming school year;

4. Review progress of activities;

5. Align activities with school and district needs/goals/ESLRs;

6. Require means of measuring effectiveness of activity;

7. Evaluate student work/data resulting from activities;

8. Oversee responsible disbursement of school professional development funds;

9. Monitor professional growth of teaching staff and administrators, individually and as teams;

10. Produce an annual report.

Activities could include but are not limited to the following:

1. Train teachers in standards-based practices;

2. Provide cross-curricular training;

3. Conduct parent/student focus groups on improving student achievement;

4. Develop programs/services to improve student achievement.



1. The District Professional Development Committee shall include a teacher representative from each school site professional development committee and no more than three administrators.

2. The District Strategic Plan Committee shall include at least one teacher and one administrator from the District Professional Development Committee.


1. Recommend focus areas each spring for professional development for the following school year based on student achievement data;

2. Oversee communication of these shared goals to all district schools;

3. Collect reports from schools sites;

4. Produce an annual report.

Activities could include but are not limited to assisting schoolwide professional development committees, curriculum councils and learning teams to:

1. Acquire appropriate student achievement data to support the district/site cycles of inquiry;

2. Assist school personnel with training to identify and retrieve student achievement data on their own;

3. Identify resources to support the professional development goals and cycle-of-inquiry process of the district and individual school sites.


Successful professional development is an investment in the future. It will result in:

1. An identifiable increase in student achievement;

2. High quality, research-based instructional practices;

3. Effective, on-going collaboration among all levels of a school district;

4. Teacher retention and renewal;

5. A professional culture in which every educator is a lifelong learner.

District educators are both individually and collectively responsible for providing and participating in focused professional development activities

Individual Educators

All educators will provide evidence of a personal professional development plan and participation in collaborative, on-going, professional development activities that are focused on district or school site student achievement goals. Individual professional development is included in Standard #6 of the evaluation process.

Learning Teams

A learning team is responsible for bringing district and schoolwide goals into instructional practice. Upon completion of its charge or at least on an annual basis, a learning team will submit a report to either the District or school site professional development committee. This report will include:

1. The focus of the learning team;

2. Membership;

3. A brief narrative of major activities;

4. Data on student achievement;

5. A summary evaluation;

6. Recommendations for the future, if applicable.


On an annual basis, each school site will submit a report to the District Professional Development Committee and school staff. This report will include:

1. The focus areas for the year;

2. A brief narrative of major activities conducted schoolwide and by site learning teams;

3. Data on student achievement;

4. A budget report on funds expended on professional development;

5. A summary evaluation;

6. Recommendations for the future.


On an annual basis, the District Professional Development Committee will submit a report to the Board of Trustees. This report will include:

1. The focus areas for the year;

2. Alignment with the District Strategic Plan;

3. A brief narrative on district and major school site professional development activities;

4. Data on student achievement;

5. A summary evaluation;

6. Recommendations for the future.

The Professional Development Committee sees the following as pivotal to the successful implementation of the district's Professional Development Policy.

Approved Activities

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that certificated staff members have opportunities to learn both from outside sources and from each other. These opportunities may include, but are not limited to:

1. Visits to other classrooms and other schools to observe and analyze teaching

2. Attendance at professional education conferences or committee meetings

3. Classes/workshops offered by the district, county office of education, state projects, private organizations, or other appropriate agencies

4. Courses in regionally accredited institutions of higher education, including courses delivered through online technologies

5. Participation in professional development networks that promote inquiry and allow staff to analyze and evaluate each other's work

6. Peer conferences and/or joint staff preparation time

7. Participation in curriculum development projects

(cf. 6141 - Curriculum Development and Evaluation)

8. Participation in educational research or innovation efforts

(cf. 4112.21 - Interns)

(cf. 4131.1 - Beginning Teacher Support/Induction)

(cf. 4138 - Mentor Teachers)

(cf. 4139 - Peer Assistance and Review)

9. Service in a leadership role in a professional organization

10. Discussions and/or internships with business and community agencies for the purpose of identifying the skills, knowledge, and aptitudes necessary for specific career paths and developing meaningful career-related, work-based learning experiences

(cf. 1700 - Relations Between Private Industry and the Schools)

(cf. 6178 - Career Technical Education)

(cf. 6178 - Work Experience Education)

(cf. 6178.2 - Regional Occupational Center/Program)

11. Travel, study, and research in subject-matter content and effective educational practices

(cf. 4161.3 - Professional Leaves)

12. Follow-up activities that help staff to implement newly acquired skills

The Superintendent or designee shall approve the participation of individual staff members in district-provided or external professional development activities which may require release time, leave of absence, or other district resources.


approved: July 15, 2010 San Mateo, California

revised: April 17. 2014