Morrison's Professional Learning Philosophy
Student learning is directly linked to good and appropriate instruction.1 In order to maximize student learning, improving the quality of teaching should be a priority to both the teacher and the supervisor. This should be a process that is continuous, using an approach that is systematic and objective.
Prior to focusing on how professional practice might be improved, a definition of quality teaching must be developed. Morrison Academy has defined quality teaching as teaching which meet the following standards: teaching which is Biblically integrated, teaching which appropriately utilizes a variety of teaching methodologies and strategies (i.e. Pedagogy Configuration) and teaching which is proficient based on the Procedure 170 Standards of Professional Practice. These standards are the basis for assessing professional practice of certified staff at Morrison Academy.
Quality instruction is cultivated when the teachers are engaged in a continuous cycle of assessing their professional practice, setting the focus for improvement, participating in focused professional learning activities, and implementing improvement plan(s).
Research supports that the utilization of multiple research validated strategies and methodologies exponentially increases students' learning. Morrison Academy has carefully chosen those pedagogies that it feels will maximize students' learning. These identified strategies and methodologies are specified in the Pedagogy Configuration. It is the school's expectation that teachers will be knowledgeable and competent in appropriately utilizing these strategies and methodologies.
Morrison schedules one day in August, two days in October, and one day in April to bring faculty and staff from the three Morrison campuses together for professional learning. During this annually scheduled time, opportunities for curriculum review are also scheduled. Six half-day (early release) professional learning days are also scheduled at each campus for the purpose of facilitating professional learning activities (see Procedure 156).
Many of our personnel also take advantage of EARCOS weekend workshops, the annual EARCOS Teacher's Conference, and the ICEC Teacher Conference (every two years) for facilitating their professional learning. Some of our personnel also take advantage of other Professional Learning Opportunities during the summer months and/or on-line courses as they work towards advanced degrees.
Professional Learning is not an unqualified benefit but a school-wide professional investment providing our staffs opportunities to grow within the learning community of Morrison Academy. Procedure 150 and Procedure 160 help guide our professional Development program.
1Walberg, Herbert. Dennis Sparks Interviews Herbert Walberg: What Research Teaches Us About Student Learning. ASCD. (1995).