CSU, Chico News

Professional Development Grant Receives Second Round of Funding to Serve Teachers in 33 Inland Counties

Date: 04-19-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Michael Kotar
School of Education

Teachers’ PD INC, a collaborative professional development project, was recently awarded funding of $1 million for a second cycle. The project will serve approximately 120 more teachers in the inland California region, the 33 counties from San Bernardino to Modoc and Siskiyou. Lead partners are California State University, Chico and the Yuba City Unified School District. The multi-year project is part of the Improving Teacher Quality Program.

Teachers’ PD INC stands for Teacher’s Professional Development for Inland California. The project supports teacher-driven or teacher-chosen professional development. Teachers’ PD INC assists teams of teachers in obtaining professional development intended to address a particular question or problem directly related to the teams’ classroom practice. The goal is to help participating teachers make significant educational reforms that will increase student achievement in their classrooms and schools. Teachers’ PD INC is supporting 119 teachers in 28 school districts during its first cycle in 2011–2013.

Teachers are now being recruited across grade levels and subject areas for the second cycle, 2012-2014. Special emphasis is being placed on recruiting teachers from high need schools. Project co-directors are Michael Kotar, Education; Julie Monet, Science Education and Geological and Environmental Sciences; and Karen Hackett Villalobos, director of the Tri-County Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Program. An additional partner, Herb Brunkhorst of CSU, San Bernardino, advises teacher teams at the southern part of the region. Teachers’ PD INC relies on connections with BTSA programs and the Office of the Sutter County Superintendent of Schools.

Teachers’ PD INC is conducting research into the effectiveness of teacher-driven professional development in collaboration with similarly funded projects at UC Davis/Humboldt State University, UCLA and UC Riverside.

“Teachers’ PD INC and the entire Teacher Based Reform Initiative (T-BAR) is participating in what many experts believe is the most effective way to improve schools – by helping teachers do a better job of teaching,” said Kotar. “It recognizes teachers as professionals capable of making creative, data-supported choices to improve their practice and the overall education of their students.”

“Often missing in more traditional models of professional development are tools for helping teachers transfer their learning to their classroom practice,” said Monet. “Teachers’ PD INC teams will take on the role of teachers as researchers while they conduct action research on their proposed reform. The goal is to provide teachers with the tools to successfully continue the benefits of the learning experiences of this professional development long after the funding has ended.”

Information about Teachers’ PD INC and the teacher team projects of the first cycle can be found on the Teacher’s PD INC website at http://www.csuchico.edu/teacher-grants or by contacting Dana Johnston in the College of Communication and Education Grants Office at 530-898-6146 or through teacher-grants@csuchico.edu.