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Professional Learning Handbook - 2017-18

Crawford County Schools Professional Learning

Individual School Goals may be found in the School Improvement Plans located at each school and the Central Office. Comprehensive Needs Assessments are conducted each year to help determine needs of individuals, grade levels, content areas, and whole schools. The needs may also reflect board of education and administrator needs.

During the school year, administrators and school professional development committees will be responsible for initiating new professional development activities, monitoring ongoing school improvement activities, and approving leave for the activities. The purposes are to improve student achievement and provide opportunities for staff and professional learning. Comprehensive planning will establish the method for coordinating and maintaining staff and professional development programs that address the assessed needs of all school system personnel as determined through the annual personnel evaluation process or through an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of system and school instructional programs. Needs are based upon the level of performance of the individual, supervisor, or the employing organization. Professional development is for all employees and is an integral and necessary part of an instructional program. Staff and professional development funds must be used for activities that enhance the skills and knowledge of all school system personnel, school board members and school council members that directly relate to improving student achievement. No state staff or professional development funds shall be used to compensate individuals obtaining an advanced degree.


Certification Renewal

Georgia Professional Learning Units (PLUs) have been used for many years by Georgia educators to fulfill certificate renewal requirements. However, following the work of a Georgia House Study Committee on Professional Learning and a representative task force of Georgia educators, the GaPSC has initiated a rule change that has moved our state away from issuing PLUs as a means of tracking professional learning. PLUs simply track seat time in workshops; with Race to the Top work Georgia has done over the past five years, Georgia has moved beyond tracking seat time to a process that treats educators as professionals. After final approval of the revised rule, educators working in schools and school districts engaged in job-embedded learning with their colleagues supported by workshops when needed. Principals and superintendents will sign assurance forms attesting their educators have been engaged in continuous learning. Professional learning will be working on the work rather than collecting PLUs.

Rule changes were adopted as proposed and 2015 was the last year that Georgia educators earned PLUs that would count toward certificate renewal unless such courses are included in the Professional Learning Plan (PLP) or Professional Learning Goals (PLGs) that an employed educator develops with his/her employer.

Crawford County School System currently requires that all certified employees participate in embedded Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). These PLCs focus on student achievement as the priority, with other PLCs as needed by the district Strategic Plan Goals, and the School Improvement Plans. Employees will also actively participate in Professional Learning Plans or Program requirements.

Professional Learning for Certified Staff Members

High-quality professional learning is defined as a process of improving and increasing competencies of staff through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace, outside the organization, or through observing others perform the job. ALL certified staff will be expected to participate in Professional Learning. The Crawford County School System will provide and support:

· Professional development activities that improve the knowledge of teachers, principals, and paraprofessionals, in:

      o Content knowledge. Providing training in one or more of the core academic subjects that the teachers teach; and

      o Classroom practices. Providing training to improve teaching practices and student academic achievement through: (a) effective instructional strategies, methods, and skills, and (b) the use of challenging State academic content standards and student academic achievement standards in preparing students for the State assessments.

· Professional development activities that improve the knowledge of teachers and principals and, in appropriate cases, paraprofessionals, regarding effective instructional practices that:

      o Involve collaborative groups of teachers and administrators;

                    · Address the needs of students with different learning styles, particularly students with disabilities, students with special needs (including students who are gifted and talented), and students with limited English proficiency;

                    · Provide training in improving student behavior in the classroom and identifying early and appropriate interventions to help students with special needs;

      o Provide training to enable teachers and principals to involve parents in their children’s education, especially parents of limited English proficient and immigrant children; and

      o Provide training on how to use data and assessments to improve classroom practice and student learning. Title II-A funds may be used for GACE testing reimbursements, if pre-determined by needs for a building, and for professional development for paraprofessionals. Revised July, 2016 

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