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At Harlem Link we take each teacher’s continued learning and success very seriously because they have the greatest influence upon our students’ success and well-being. Our teachers matter to us.
The primary purpose of professional learning at Harlem Link is to improve our practice and our students’ results. Our professional learning is embedded in a supportive culture committed to continuous improvement and informed by data and research on student and professional performance.
Guided by our mission, core values and staff qualities, Harlem Link’s Professional Learning Community strives to foster an environment where all community members are constant learners who have access to high-quality professional development.
Our five year goal for professional learning includes:
At the core of our Professional Learning we believe that we each follow a cycle of learning:
Learn -> Practice -> Reflect
At Harlem Link we are all learners and contributors and our collaborative approach to learning in the above ways impacts instruction, school culture, and students positively. We have many forums for learning that include our annual summer institute, instructional coaching, peer coaching, study groups, subject based professional learning communities, professional learning days, data analysis and planning, inter-classroom visits, school visits, lesson studies, off site workshops and after school workshops. In addition, each staff member also has a Professional Learning Plan that is tailored to his or her professional growth needs with a goal, learning plan, and a way to assess progress toward the goal.
Research about professional learning indicates that the most effective teacher learning is when the teacher can directly apply what has been learned into his or her classroom with the help of a peer, coach, or supervisor. All learning that promotes new skills and knowledge can be useful and can help teachers, but if they do not put it to use and practice then there will be little or no transfer to the improvement of student learning. As a result, we strive to ensure that the learning goes back into the classroom.
Another critical piece in professional learning is for teachers to have ongoing reflection about what they are learning and practicing in the classroom. During reflection the teacher is able to reflect how his or her practice has impacted student learning and about next steps to continually improve practice and student learning. This is often accomplished with our instructional coach or our literacy or math coaches. Teachers also reflect with an assistant principal and the principal through ongoing observation and feedback. Additionally, teachers can work with peers to reflect on their practice.
This set of norms guides our professional interaction and what we model for children.