Thursday, September 11, 2008

Act 48

Today we had a discussion at with some representatives at the state regarding Act 48. Concerns are being raised by the legislature regarding the efficacy of the current Act 48 system. The current Act 48 guidelines require programs of at least 3.5 hours and yet the PERMS system allows for uploading of single hour events. Administrators should anticipate that the Department will be updating the PERMS system and that participation in single hour or two hour events will be a thing of the past. In addition, anticipate that the Department will be conducting random audits to review Act 48 activities. These may be personal visits or phone calls. Items such as sign in sheets will likely be requested.

Recommendations:

  • According to the literature the purpose of professional development is to increase student achievement. Therefore, these changes could enhance the work already going on to support best practices.
  • I wouldn't panic about the changes. It will take time for the Department to change the system, work with providers to upgrade systems like CPETracker.
  • Look ahead to next year ----ensure your plan has programs, not single activities.
  • Consider building instructional coaching into your program as the follow up portion of the program.

Post Script: While the Act 48 Guidelines recommend programs of a minimum of 3.5 hours in length, they also clearly state that one shot professional development events are not appropriate and that programs , which include follow up activities should be planned.

2 comments:

lsmith said...

While I understand that hosting workshops with a minimum of 3.5 hours may cause our staff the need for reorganization of many current workshops, I am happy that the PERMS system may no longer allow for the upload of less hours.

When planning for this fall, questions arose regarding workshops of 2 hours in length were acceptable to submit to PDE via the PERMS system. Until additional information was received from PDE, this confusion greatly affected the planning of many of our workshops.

The current Act 48 guidelines state that 3.5 hours is recommended; however the guidelines do not currently read that 3.5 hours are required. I hope that the guidelines will be changed to reflect a required number of hours, no matter what that may be, as this will alleviate confusion for future planning and will allow our staff to adjust their workshops accordingly.

kemeigh said...

We already know that effective professional development requires much more than a two hour workshop. If we continue to accept that as "professional development" we will never move our participants forward in their understanding and implementation of strong instruction, curriculum, and assessment.
Our professional development will look different, as will our classrooms. Again, we know more about the brain (adult brain too!) than ever before. So in order to provide respectful and useful workshops, we need to pay attention to this.