Each day and every year, educators face the increasingly complicated task of equipping students with the complex skills needed to be college- and career-ready. With high expectations for student achievement, increasingly diverse student populations in our public schools, and the evolving reality of the 21st century, effective teachers are more essential than ever before.
Studies have shown that professional development programs represent a key differentiator between high-performing, low-income schools and lower-performing schools. At Vista College Preparatory (VCP), we are dedicated to cultivating a supportive environment for educators of all backgrounds at any stage of their career, which starts by offering continuous, targeted professional development for all of our teachers and staff.
Prioritizing Teacher Development
It’s no secret that teaching is incredibly demanding. However, research has consistently shown that dedicated and reflective teachers equipped with effective lessons and an infectious enthusiasm to learn have strong potential to improve student outcomes. In other words, with the right teacher development tools in place, educators can make a significant impact, witness their scholars' academic and intellectual growth first-hand, and continue to grow more effective by the day. Invoking this mindset, VCP makes teacher development a priority in our work. Our teachers repeatedly share feedback that the support they receive and the professional growth they experience inform their decision to remain on our team year over year, further benefiting our community as a whole and-most of all-our scholars.
Improving Student Outcomes
Student success sits at the heart of teacher professional development. At VCP, we serve scholars from kindergarten through eighth grade. As a result, we have assembled a team, compiled resources, and developed relationships with high-performing schools, networks, and professional development providers across the country to ensure our leadership team has the capacity to support teachers and scholars, their academic and social-emotional needs across grade levels K-8. To succeed, scholars need teachers trained in research-based instructional practices, culturally competent classroom management, and data-based decision-making.
One straightforward measure of VCP's professional development and teacher effectiveness is through standardized state testing results. AzMERIT results showed that third and fourth-grade scholars enrolled at VCP scored in the 94th percentile in literacy and the 89th percentile in math, making them some of the highest-achieving students in the state.
Delivering Effective Professional Development
In a white paper released by the K-12 educational consultant Generation Ready, the authors noted that professional development programs need to be comprehensive, ongoing, and hands-on to incite effective teacher growth. Although most states and school districts require that professional development take place, approaches to adult learning vary significantly.
While some traditional programs consist of a lecture-style presentation that may or may not be directly relevant or applicable to teachers, VCP’s approach to professional development focuses on skill development and execution. We carefully design professional development sessions based on assessment results, teacher observations, and the needs of students and teachers. We encourage our teachers to be lifelong learners and we strive to ground ourselves in our 'why,' always tying our hunger for improvement back to the benefit of our scholars.
Increasing Collaboration Across Educational Communities
Professional development is an ongoing cycle of improvement, but it is not limited to one teacher, school, network, or district. We focus on fostering a collaborative learning environment by providing opportunities for all staff to grown and learn. At VCP, we believe that responsibility for student achievement is a shared endeavor.
We are committed to advancing the quality of classroom instruction, improving school performance, and providing targeted professional development for all of our team members. If you are interested in joining a team of passionate educators, contact VCP today!