Professional Growth

Strategic Initiative Committee

January Prof Growth Conversations

Thank you to all for the very collaborative nature and positive vibes that were exuded in our Wednesday meeting this week.     It was clearly useful to have time to either share with colleagues about the nature of the work we are doing around the 7C that we have chosen as a focus for this year and to then take time to log onto our blogs to take time to become more familiar with this platform or to continue writing a post or add or share your work.   

A few things we asked people to do: 

  1. To sit in groups according to the 7C that they are working around – for those who were not there today, you might like to see where people were sitting and then you might like to reach out to chat with someone from that group to share how your professional journey is going.
  2. Subscribe to another person (or a few) Blog – to do this you need to enter your email address on the blog home page of the teacher you wish to receive updates from.  If I want to subscribe to Fred’s blog, I need to find his Blog (linked on the blog list) and then put my email address into the Subscribe box.  This will then send an email to my ISB inbox and I will need to click on the link to confirm that I want to subscribe and then every time Fred posts, I will receive that post as on email.  
  3. To complete a Feedback survey (8 questions) about the process of using Tripod.  We will have our students complete the second Tripod survey in April so we need to ensure that any challenges that were faced can be discussed with relevant people prior to the second survey being completed.    We will share the results of our responses and offer some solutions and ideas moving forward as we look to April and beyond. 

A big thank you for your continued time on this project.  We look forward to seeing you on 27th Feb at our next meeting.

Please be mindful that our next studentTripod survey will be completed in April which is designed to offer another piece of data to determine your next 2019-2020 Goal and to give you some feedback on the work you have completed this year as well.  Please try and make a post (with your goal/s clearly defined) so that your Administrator can explicitly see what your focus is this year.


Throughout the duration of the pilot, please provide any feedback you may have, via the Padlet below. We will view the Padlet regularly and attempt to respond to any questions, comments or feedback in general, in a timely manner. Thank you again for your participation in this pilot!

Made with Padlet

Staff Blogs? FAQs

A public blogging network for professional learning is bound to raise some questions. Having had numerous discussions within our strategic committee meetings and various independent conversations beyond, the most commonly asked questions are why do this and what about the the publicity? The following are responses to these frequently asked questions:

Why make these portfolios public?

  • For Students:
    • Teachers will be modelling good digital citizenship.
    • Many students are currently using an online portfolio tool of some description, SeeSaw, an ISB blog or other, to curate their own Digital Learning Portfolio. One of the goals is for students to develop good reflective practice and the recognition and celebration of life-long learning. Teachers can assist students by modelling these practices.
    • This is an opportunity for students to be the teacher and work with faculty to build their capacity in the use of contemporary teaching and learning tools. 
  • For Teachers:
    • This is an opportunity for us to showcase the great things that are happening in our classrooms and beyond! 
    • To showcase achievements and reflect on professional development opportunities attended.
    • Teachers are held accountable by taking ownership of their professional learning.
    • Teachers may wish to build a thorough portfolio that can be used as part of future internal position applications.
    • Blogs can be exported and used for applications beyond ISB (subject to approval regarding privacy and IP).
  • For The School:
    • This is the first time something like this has been done and aligns with contemporary pedagogy. 
    • Highlights the transparency, with the wider ISB community, of our outstanding professional learning program.
    • Has the ability to increase capacity of faculty employed in the future given this is an expectation for all teaching staff.

What are the concerns with public portfolios and how can we minimise these?

  • Some faculty may be fearful of the way they will be perceived within the school community:
    • This is likely because they are still not clear on what we are doing and why. Many of these concerns should be addressed as teachers come to fully understand the scale and scope of the task. 
    • The teacher blog platform will be promoted as a supportive and collaborative community highlighting the benefits of reflective practice and learning as a process. 
    • Concerned faculty will be given the option of making their posts private. This would involve setting a password and communicating this to their respective principal, direct report, coach and any other faculty member that should require access. By making this an option, there is potential for these teachers to become more comfortable with the platform and make the change themselves to a public portfolio.
  • Some teachers may be concerned that parents will be critical of what is happening in a particular classroom
    • We have the ultimate say in what we post! As staff come to understand this platform, they will learn that they are in the drivers seat. As professionals, teachers are able to make judgements about what is appropriate to post and what is not.  

If you have any addition questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reply to this post!

ISB Bogging Network for Professional Growth

I have spoken with Matt about setting up our ISB blogging network for teachers. He will develop a launch page with links to individual teacher blogs to form a part of our trial for 2018-19, similar to the exemplar referred to in our previous meeting. However, in order to start this process we need to develop a URL. The current student blogging network has the URL so it seems to make sense to run with the same format, however, replacing the word “blogs” for something that more specifically relates to professional growth…

For example (not that this is great) – or

It needs to be short and somehow capture all (or most) of what we are trying to do. I would appreciate your thoughts posted as comments and we can see what we can come up with. It will make it easier for Matt if we decide on a URL that we plan to stick with so I’d like to make this our goal!

Additionally, we have the option of adding pre-set categories to our template professional learning blog. These categories would be pushed out to each blog as they are created. The benefit of this is that users could simply start their blogging journey, without the need to set up additional elements of their blog. Blog and categorise, blog and categorise. For those new to blogging, the would ease the transition and ensure there is consistency throughout the ISB online professional learning network. I think it’s important that we make this as accessible and seamless as possible and pre-determining categories (but not restricting the addition of more) would go a log way in achieving this.

Considering this, what categories do we think are necessary? In setting up my own professional learning blog for ISB I went with the following:

  • Professional Learning – This is where I post details of my 2017-18 goal and professional development opportunities I have attended personally or those I have offered to staff.
  • Reflection – There is overlap here, (and I haven’t yet added to this category!) but my thinking is that my reflections on my goal/s are posted in this category.
  • Showcase – Any posts that showcase student learning or the great work being done in classrooms.

I’m not suggesting this is the best set up, perhaps we need a category as direct as Goals? Once again, please post your thoughts below as to your thinking behind what categories might be appropriate for this template keeping in mind that posts on a blog can be categorised in more than one category. e.g. a reflection on my goal could be posted in Goals and Reflection.

Looking forward to the discussion ahead!


Professional Educator Standards

We will be reviewing two sets of educator standards at our last meeting this year with the goal of choosing one for our pilot next year.

The first set was developed by James Stronge and Associates. These are research-based and have student surveys aligned to the standards.  These standards are similar to ones currently being used at ISB (with a performance quality rubric for each standard).

The second set was developed Ron Ferguson, a professor at Harvard and implemented by Tripod. These are research-based and have student surveys aligned to their framework (standards) as well. The biggest difference are the surveys are implemented by Tripod, who produce the online link and a comprehensive analysis after their completion.

Here are the links for your perusal:

James Stronge

Tripod Framework

Tripod Surveys

What is Our Purpose?

Our Mission Statement

By itself, a mission statement doesn’t mean much. It’s just words on a page. But if it’s supported by a group of people who care about making a difference, that’s something else. Few things are as powerful as a shared mission.

With this in mind, the bulk of our meeting on Friday 16th March was spent developing a mission statement for professional growth at ISB. It was agreed upon, that in order to select a framework or set of standards that are appropriate, we need to understand what it is that we want to achieve.

Following on from a storytelling activity involving a positive professional growth experience, we were able to identify the Cause (Who? What? Where?) the Action (What do we do?) and the Impact (What charges for the better?) of which were documented in the Padlet below.

Made with Padlet

As a group, we took the time to identify the common ideas from our stories – What are the Big Ideas?

All mission statements should have these three elements: Cause, Action and Impact so in small groups, with these big idea in mind, we attempted to  write a mission statement for professional growth at ISB that incorporates the Big Ideas that we had identified as a large group. This is what we came up with, where the stars represent the voting.

It was agreed upon that we would continue to unpack this mission statement through the means of the blog. This could mean that we look to combine one or more of the statements above, change some of the wording, or simply develop something different altogether. Please continue the discussion by commenting on this post and we can look to finalise our decision at the beginning of our next scheduled meeting.

Standards & Frameworks

In the second half of the meeting, Fred supplied a number of different teacher standards and frameworks for us to spend some time considering. Such frameworks included INTASC, Australian Professional Standards, Educator Competencies, Tripod and Stronge. A number of questions were arising when we started to consider each of these frameworks and in response, we have set up a Padlet to collect these thoughts. Please add to it as you progress through the material.

Let’s get started!

March 7th was the kick-off for this strategic committee. After introducing one another, Patrick addressed the group outlining the following parameters in response to the development of a new professional growth model (formally termed “appraisal”) at ISB:

  • The model should include peer observation to promote collaboration.
  • Steer away from the traditional “appraisal” or “evaluation” approach and work toward developing a growth model rather than top-down box checking at various stages throughout the year.
  • Data, feedback, teacher reflections etc. should be housed digitally, avoiding the unnecessary paper shuffling so-to-speak.
  • Development of set of standards or feedback model applicable for pre K-12

There was some initial confusion within the group as a number of faculty made the assumption that signing on for the professional growth strategic committee would involve a focus on external professional development opportunities, rather than the development of the internal process of what was formally referred to as appraisal. It was made clear that the focus, at least initially, should be on the internal process and how we can ensure teachers are supported on a day-to-day basis to grow and develop further as professionals.

Essentially, we’ve been given an opportunity to develop a model that works best for us and best serves our students. Patrick has encouraged us to create something different, blue sky thinking  – “Go nuts” were his words! In light of this, we were hoping to show the following video “Moonshot Thinking” within the meeting, however, we ran out of time. Take a look!

Reflecting on the current model

To begin our thinking, it made sense to consider the current model in place at ISB. Using a PMI chart, we gathered the following feedback:

The following table summarise the information gathered from the brainstorm. We are hoping it will inspire us to begin thinking about what it is that we aspire to have (and not have!) in our own professional growth model.

Group/team goal promotes collaborationStart & end product of group goal is not clearShould it be specific to subject, grade level etc?
Opportunity to self reflect and evaluateSeems like a tick-box exerciseFlexible to areas and divisions?
Something is set in place!Teaching standards are very outdatedNeed clear, constructive feedback
Clear structure within departmentsAdmin observation feedback is too generalPeer observations need clarification and clarity
Standards for professional growth existStandards/framework
No continuity or consistency
Time for admin
Hard to see how it impacts professional growth
No ongoing feedback
Limited feedback/small sample
Purpose is unclear and detached from reality of instruction
Lacks a perception of value
Terminology is open to misinterpretation
Opaque and top down
Mandated goal related to what the school's focus is at the time
School mandated growth policies may not fit with everyone - it needs to reflect the differences in divisions and subjects

Looking Forward

Using the parameters set in place, we asked participants to consider what questions or comments they might have looking ahead. These were categorised into the various parameters and using the compass model, established as (N) need to know, (S) stance, steps or direction, (E) excitements and (W) worries. This will form the basis of our research when we meet again next week.


We need a hashtag! You’ll notice there is a twitter feed to the right of this post. We’d like to share updates on our progress as a committee, and ask for feedback from external parties where necessary, and this could prove to be an effective way to do so. Let’s come up with a catchy hashtag… comment on this post (click comment at the top of the post)  with some suggestions!


As the strategic planning group  focusing on professional growth, our goal is to collaboratively identify best practices related to teacher growth and establish an ISB school-wide framework, standards, systems and structures for implementation in 2018-2019.

This blog will serve as a means to provide the community with an insight into the conversations that are taking place within our committee meetings and as documentation of the process that will ultimately lead to the recommendations that we put forward. It is our hope that this online space will become a forum for the community to participate in these conversations while sharing resources and knowledge that may be helpful for the process that we are about to embark on.

Welcome to the journey!

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