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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.
Professional development (PD) comes in many forms at Harlem Link and represents a significant investment in the school’s annual budget. In fact, it constitutes one of the five priority areas of our strategic plan. At the center of this plan, each teacher has a Professional Growth Plan (PGP) with a SMART goal tailored to his or her needs.
The professional development goal in our strategic plan is:
Professional development at Harlem Link will take place within a collegial, purposeful professional learning community. Our professional learning community will be primarily teacher-led and differentiated in that it is responsive to the individual and collective needs of the Harlem Link community. By 2014, professional development at Harlem Link will have an 80% member satisfaction rate and 80% of individual and collective professional goals will be attained, and 100% of classrooms will reflect high quality teaching (HQT).
The school has continually revised and monitored efforts to meet this goal since setting it in 2009, and has made great strides while revising curriculum, assessment and instructional practices across the school in accordance with changes at the state level.
Ways in which teachers and other staff members receive professional development at Harlem Link are many, including but not limited to:
Harlem Link has achieved tremendous success thanks in part to tremendous teacher investment, fostered by meaningful faculty input into professional development and decision making. This feature of our school reaches its apex with our annual strategic planning process. We are entering the final year of a five-year strategic plan. In the process of devising this plan, a diverse set of voices examined our core principles and goals and suggest new solutions and actions.
A highlight of the current strategic plan driven by teacher input includes the adoption of school-wide High Quality Teaching Standards by a committee of teachers and administrators intended to form the basis of both professional development and teacher evaluation.
In 2013-14, the school community will convene its annual retreat to launch the next five year strategic plan, which will include ambitious new goals and plans in the area of professional development and adult learning. Discussions as part of the 2012-13 strategic planning process are helping to frame those plans with input from teachers, administrators, board members, parents and other staff members.
The strategic planning process also led to the development of a set of norms to guide our professional interaction and our modeling for children. The norms are listed below.