- Professional development for administrators doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, Kimberly Tew, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Robbinsville, New Jersey, writes in Edutopia.
- Strategically carving out time during the school day for team activities like a weekly administrator book club, implementing instructional rounds where leaders observe and learn from other schools, and incorporating PD into regular meetings are among methods to ensure low-cost, ongoing and relevant PD for leaders, Tew says.
- In addition, choosing yearly themes, such as equity in education, gives direction and focus to PD material.
According to research from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), 35% of principals stay at their school for less than two years, while just 11% stay for a decade or more. The same research cites a lack of professional development as contributing to low job satisfaction and high rates of attrition.
Providing PD for administrators, however, is not always easy. Rural districts, for example, cover large geographic areas that force administrators to get creative when seeking out PD opportunities. In these cases, professional learning networks can help bridge the distance if administrators who do receive PD pass best practices along to their peers.
Job coaching, another PD approach, allows administrators to ask authentic questions and get honest feedback without fear of evaluation, and also fits into an administrator’s packed day. While principals value job coaches and some have labeled it as more effective than the traditional "sit and get" PD, a study by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) shows that not all principals have participated in that professional development model, suggesting that it is not widely used.
It's important to note that while administrator professional development can improve job satisfaction and ultimately reduce turnover, the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education recently found it doesn't always improve student achievement or school climate.