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Austin Public Schools

Policy 425 - Staff Development

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[Note: The provisions of this policy substantially reflect statutory requirements.]

I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to establish a staff development program and structure to carry out planning and reporting on staff development that supports improved student learning.

II. ADVISORY STAFF DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE AND SITE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TEAMS

  • The school board will establish an Advisory Staff Development Committee to develop a Staff Development Plan, assist Site Professional Development Teams in developing a site plan consistent with the goals of the Staff Development Plan, and evaluate staff development efforts at the site level.
    • The majority of the membership of the Advisory Staff Development Committee shall consist of teachers representing various grade levels, subject areas, and special education. The Committee also will include nonteaching staff, parents, and administrators.
    • Members of the Advisory Staff Development Committee shall be appointed by the school board. Committee members shall serve a two-year term based upon nominations by board members, teachers, and paraprofessionals. The school board shall appoint replacement members of the Advisory Staff Development Committee as soon as possible following the resignation, death, serious illness, or removal of a member from the Committee.
  • The school board will establish the Site Professional Development Teams.
    • Members of the Site Professional Development Teams will be appointed by the school board. Team members shall serve a two-year term based upon nominations by board members, teachers, and paraprofessionals. The school board shall appoint replacement members of the Site Professional Development Teams as soon as possible following the resignation, death, serious illness, or removal of a member from the Team.
    • The majority of the Site Professional Development Teams shall be teachers representing various grade levels, subject areas, and special education.

III. DUTIES OF THE ADVISORY STAFF DEVELOPMENT  COMMITTEE

  • The Advisory Staff Development Committee will develop a Staff Development Plan which will be reviewed and subject to approval by the school board twice a year.
  • The Staff Development Plan must contain the following elements:
    • Staff development outcomes which are consistent with the education outcomes as may be determined periodically by the school board;
    • The means to achieve the Staff Development outcomes;
    • The procedures for evaluating progress at each school site toward meeting educational outcomes consistent with re-licensure requirements under Minn. Stat. § 122A.18, Subd. 4;
    • Ongoing staff development activities that contribute toward continuous improvement in achievement of the following goals:
      • Improve student achievement of state and local education standards in all areas of the curriculum, including areas of regular academic and applied and experiential learning, by using research-based best practices methods;
      • Effectively meet the needs of a diverse student population, including at-risk children, children with disabilities, English learners, and gifted children, within the regular classroom, applied and experiential learning settings, and other settings;
      • Provide an inclusive curriculum for a racially, ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse student population that is consistent with state education diversity rule and the district’s education diversity plan;
      • Improve staff collaboration and develop mentoring and peer coaching programs for teachers new to the school or district;
      • Effectively teach and model violence prevention policy and curriculum that address early intervention alternatives, issues of harassment, and teach nonviolent alternatives for conflict;
      • Effectively deliver digital and blended learning and curriculum and engage students with technology; and
      • Provide teachers and other members of site-based management teams with appropriate management and financial management skills.
    • The Staff Development Plan also must:
      • Support stable and productive professional communities achieved through ongoing and schoolwide progress and growth in teaching practice;
      • Emphasize coaching, professional learning communities, classroom action research, and other job-embedded models;
      • Maintain a strong subject matter focus premised on students’ learning goals consistent with Minn. Stat. § 120B.125;
      • Ensure specialized preparation and learning about issues related to teaching English learners and students with special needs by focusing on long-term systemic efforts to improve educational services and opportunities and raise student achievement; and
      • Reinforce national and state standards of effective teaching practice.
    • Staff development activities must:
      • Focus on the school classroom and research-based strategies that improve student learning;
      • Provide opportunities for teachers to practice and improve their instructional skills over time;
      • Provide opportunities for teachers to use student data as part of their daily work to increase student achievement;
      • Enhance teacher content knowledge and instructional skills, including to accommodate the delivery of digital and blended learning and curriculum and engage students with technology;
      • Align with state and local academic standards;
      • Provide opportunities to build professional relationships, foster collaboration among principals and staff who provide instruction, and provide opportunities for teacher-to-teacher mentoring;
      • Align with the plan, if any, of the district or site for an alternative teacher professional pay system;
      • Provide teachers of English learners, including English as a second language, and content teachers with differentiated instructional strategies critical for ensuring students long-term academic success, the means to effectively use assessment data on the academic literacy, oral academic language, and English language development of English learners, and skills to support native and English language development across the curriculum; and
      • Provide opportunities for staff to learn about current workforce trends, the connections between workforce trends and postsecondary education, and training options, including career and technical education options.
    • Staff development activities may include curriculum development and curriculum training programs and activities that provide teachers and other members of site-based teams training to enhance team performance.
    • The school district may implement other staff development activities required by law and activities associated with professional teacher compensation models.

      [Note: To the extent the school board offers K-12 teachers the opportunity for more staff development training under Minn. Stat. § 122A.40, Subds. 7 and 7a, or Minn. Stat. § 122A.41, Subds. 4 and 4a, such additional days of staff development should include peer mentoring, peer gathering, continuing education, professional development, or other training which enable teachers to achieve the staff development outcomes enumerated above in Section III.B.4.]
       
  • The Advisory Staff Development Committee will assist Site Professional Development Teams in developing a site plan consistent with the goals and outcomes of the Staff Development Plan.
  • The Advisory Staff Development Committee will evaluate staff development efforts at the site level and will report to the school board on a quarterly basis the extent to which staff at the site have met the outcomes of the Staff Development Plan.
  • The Advisory Staff Development Committee shall assist the school district in preparing any reports required by the Department of Education relating to staff development including, but not limited to, the reports referenced in Section VII below.

IV. DUTIES OF THE SITE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TEAM

  • Each Site Professional Development Team shall develop a site plan, consistent with the goals of the Staff Development Plan. The school board will review the site plans for consistency with the Staff Development Plan twice a year.
  • The Site Professional Development Team must demonstrate to the school board the extent to which staff at the site have met the outcomes of the Staff Development Plan. The actual reports to the school board can be made by the Advisory Staff Development Committee to avoid duplication of effort.
  • If the school board determines that staff development outcomes are not being met, it may withhold a portion of the initial allocation of revenue referenced in Section V below.

V. STAFF DEVELOPMENT FUNDING

  • Unless the school district is in statutory operating debt or a majority of the school board and a majority of its licensed teachers annually vote to waive the requirement to reserve basic revenue for staff development, the school district will reserve an amount equal to at least two percent of its basic revenue for: in-service education for violence prevention programs to help students learn how to resolve conflicts within their families and communities in non-violent, effective ways; staff development plans; curriculum development and programs; other in-service education; teachers’ workshops; teacher conferences; the cost of substitute teachers for staff development purposes; preservice and in-service education for special education professionals and paraprofessionals; and other related costs for staff development efforts. The school district also may use the revenue reserved for staff development for grants to the school district’s teachers to pay for coursework and training leading to certification as either a college in the schools teacher or a concurrent enrollment teacher. In order to receive a grant, the teacher must be enrolled in a program that includes coursework and training focused on teaching a core subject.
  • The school district may, in its discretion, expend an additional amount of unreserved revenue for staff development based on its needs.
  • Release time provided for teachers to supervise students on field trips and school activities, or independent tasks not associated with enhancing the teacher’s knowledge and instructional skills, such as preparing report cards, calculating grades, or organizing classroom materials, may not be counted as staff development time that is financed with staff development reserved revenue under Minn. Stat. § 122A.61.

VI. PROCEDURE FOR USE OF STAFF DEVELOPMENT FUNDS

  • On a yearly basis, the Advisory Staff Development Committee, with the assistance of the Site Professional Development Teams, shall prepare a projected budget setting forth proposals for allocating staff development funds reserved for each school site. Such budgets shall include, but not be limited to, projections as to the cost of building site training programs, costs of individual staff seminars, and cost of substitutes.
  • Upon approval of the budget by the school board, the Advisory Committee shall be responsible for monitoring the use of such funds in accordance with the Staff Development Plan and budget. The requested use of staff development funds must meet or make progress toward the goals and objectives of the Staff Development Plan. All costs/expenditures will be reviewed by the school board and/or superintendent for consistency with the Staff Development Plan on a quarterly basis.
  • Individual requests from staff for leave to attend staff development activities shall be submitted and reviewed according to school district policy, staff procedures, contractual agreement, and the effect on school district operations. Failure to timely submit such requests may be cause for denial of the request.

VII. REPORTING

  • The school district and site staff development committee shall prepare a report of the previous fiscal year’s staff development activities and expenditures as part of the school district’s world’s best workforce report.
    • The report must include assessment and evaluation data indicating progress toward district and site staff development goals based on teaching and learning outcomes, including the percentage of teachers and other staff involved in instruction who participate in effective staff development activities.
    • The report will provide a breakdown of expenditures for:
      • Curriculum development and curriculum training programs;
      • Staff development training models, workshops, and conferences; and
      • The cost of releasing teachers or providing substitute teachers for staff development purposes.
    • The report also must indicate whether the expenditures were incurred at the district level or the school site level and whether the school site expenditures were made possible by the grants to school sites that demonstrate exemplary use of allocated staff development revenue. These expenditures must be reported using the uniform financial and accounting and reporting standards (UFARS).
    • The report will be signed by the superintendent and staff development chair.

Legal References:

  • Minn. Stat. § 120A.41 (Length of School Year; Days of Instruction)
  • Minn. Stat. § 120A.415 (Extended School Calendar)
  • Minn. Stat. § 120B.125 (Planning for Students’ Successful Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment; Personal Learning Plans)
  • Minn. Stat. § 120B.22, Subd. 2 (Violence Prevention Education)
  • Minn. Stat. § 122A.18, Subd. 4 (Board to Issue Licenses; Expiration and Renewal)
  • Minn. Stat. § 122A.40, Subds. 7 and 7a (Employment; Contracts; Termination - Additional Staff Development and Salary)
  • Minn. Stat. § 122A.41, Subds. 4 and 4a (Teacher Tenure Act; Cities of the First Class; Definitions - Additional Staff Development and Salary)
  • Minn. Stat. § 122A.60 (Staff Development Program)
  • Minn. Stat. § 122A.61 (Reserved Revenue for Staff Development)
  • Minn. Stat. § 126C.10, Subds. 2 and 2b (General Education Revenue)
  • Minn. Stat. § 126C.13, Subd. 5 (General Education Levy and Aid)


Policy Adopted: 06/12/06
Policy Reviewed: 10/10/11
Policy Revised: 09/14/15
Policy Revised: 02/12/18
Policy Reviewed: 01/11/21

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