AEAs empower teachers through professional development

One of the best-known ways to impact student performance is through teacher professional development. The AEAs in Iowa have always been known for delivering quality professional learning for teachers. Iowa’s AEAs are working with districts to provide timely, relevant and quality learning for teachers so that student performance can continue to improve.

“Professional development expectations and outcomes have changed over the past several years,” said Jackie Gray, Professional Development Manager with AEA 267. “Instead of merely holding a workshop and hoping that participants have learned the content, collaborative learning, ongoing support and opportunities for implementation and reflection are incorporated.”

AEA consultants provide different levels of support including, but not limited to: training on researched-based instructional practices, effective instruction to implement the Iowa Core, training on how new technologies can be used to benefit the classroom, and facilitation of the district’s learning goals. Consultants also provide follow-up and on-going support to the school and its teachers in an area that the school has identified as a need. Teachers can earn graduate degree hours when taking many of these courses.

“Professional development is one of the most essential services provided to teachers and educators by the AEA,” said Gray.

Online learning coming from AEAs

In light of the need to bring advanced degree studies and professional development closer to home for teachers, the AEAs are currently developing online learning programs, which will be offered statewide for all educators. The courses will be taught by highly regarded professionals and can be taken at times convenient for the teachers without the need to be gone from their classrooms. More information about this exciting new approach to providing professional learning to Iowa teachers will be coming soon from your AEA.

In the meantime, the AEAs continue to provide strong leadership in developing professional growth related to the Iowa Core. An approach known as “Characteristics of Effective Instruction” has been embedded into the content areas of literacy, science and math. Over 1,110 educators from across AEA 267 are participating in deepening their understanding of the Iowa Core and gaining knowledge regarding types of instruction that consistently engage students.

“Participants have opportunities to learn through collaborative team activities, videos and district discussions and planning sessions all focused on the Characteristics of Effective Instruction,” said Gray.

AEAs have consistently maintained a strong partnership with the Board of Educational Examiners, and AEAs are approved to offer higher-level credit courses. These courses are often taught through partnerships with local universities and colleges and provide graduate-credit classes for teachers who wish to attain advanced degrees. This helps teachers fulfill requirements of their Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP) and fulfills certain requirements of their district Comprehensive Improvement Plans (CSIP).

Relevant, timely and quality professional development courses offered through the AEAs are a cornerstone of excellence in Iowa’s educational system. For nearly two generations, the AEAs have empowered thousands of Iowa educators through professional development to meet on-going, evolving needs within the educational system.

For more information, contact Jackie Gray, AEA 267 Professional Development Manager at 319-268-7658.

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