The most effective school reforms start with the development of a professional plan. Most of the states have started training and funding for the development of such plans. All users of the plan are equipped with knowledge, content, principles of effective administration, thus; the professional obligation is strengthened. In the training academies, teachers get to learn that skills and knowledge are not easily acquired; they have to be perfected and achieved over time. The success of the staff largely dictates the success of the students. This plan helps the educators or teachers to develop a vision and work towards the achievement of the school’s goals. A vision determines the direction of development. In addition, it helps the teachers to make an environment that is conducive for effective learning and interaction. The outcome is strong teacher-student integration and quality results. The professional development plan focuses on the improvement of student’s skills, learning goals and knowledge. This enables future student creativity, innovation, and productivity in socialization circles (SEDL, 1990).
Outline of the Plan
1. Professional Needs for Assessment
The process of school reform begins with an assessment of the reform needs for the school. The resources used for assessment of the school needs are dependent on the rubrics and other resources developed by national and other state organizations charged with development of education. Determination of these needs also relies on the practices and educational programmes of the school with the education research and other practices identified for their success in other schools (US Department of Education, 1998). The main importance of the assessment is to develop comprehensive plans that will improve the performance of students in the school. Needs assessment in schools is important since it will ensure the development of learning programmes that respond to the needs of the students. Assessment is essential for collaboration among the school leaders, teachers, and other community partners. This assessment and collaboration with the different players in the educational sector enables the management of a school to determine the available resources, opportunities for improvement and barriers to the achievement of set goals. Assessment is also essential for development of specific strategies that the school focuses on due to their significance in the performance of the school (Reynolds & Fletcher-Janzen, 2007). Assessment will also aid in the development of a consensus concerning the priority need among the different stakeholders.
2. A Letter Explaining the Needs Assessment Rationale
The rationale of a professional development plan is to address problems that stem out of practice in relation to teaching and learning. The data gathered from students provides the source of the issues to be addressed by the plan. The strategic plan will have the student visions and achievements and the school's vision as engraved in the district board. The professional development plan should engage all the participants in a close look into their own practice, with the objective of developing a vision, its contribution to performance and learning. This plan is meant to improve the process of learning but in a continual manner. One of the key-features of the plan is to involve participants to develop a deep understanding of the essential features of quality learning, for instance, the beliefs and values. The plan should highlight the competencies and weaknesses of the school and by the dispositions, the skills, and knowledge that are needed. In this context, the plan will focus on Security Development, Food Safety, and Drug Abuse Issue.
3. Topics Identified for the Training Program
The training program identifies certain issues that have to be accorded priority for successful improvement of the school’s performance (ISBE, 2011). The teachers and other facilitators have to be involved in training on issues such as security development, food safety, active involvement of the students in school, and issues to do with drug abuse.
a). Security Development
One of the main topics for training is the development of security in the school. The teachers require to be taken through the main aspects of ensuring the security of their students. This will involve training them on ways of identifying street gang activity in the school. Other aspects of security include bullying in school and how it can be prevented. They also require training on how they can foster a culture of reporting security concerns among the students. Interactive teaming will also require teachers to learn how to react in case of catastrophes such as fires in order to reduce casualties.
b). Food Safety
Food safety is another crucial aspect for school improvement. Schools have to ensure that the food served to the students is both safe and nutritious. The educators have to be educated on the significance of serving food that is safe for their students. The educators play a pivotal role in inspecting the preparation of food in the cafeterias as well as the hygiene of the preparation process. The educators require training on the factors to look out for in their inspection of the food as well as the service.
c). Drug Abuse Issue
Drug abuse is another serious issue that affects the performance of schools in their academic work. Educators will be engaged in training on how to detect drug abuse in students. The educators have to be trained on the side effects of different narcotic drugs as well as the first aid that can be provided for overdoses of common narcotic drugs. They will also be trained on the factors influencing drug abuse and how they can counsel their students to abstain from drugs. The training will also include basic counseling techniques to aid students suffering from drug abuse.
d). Active Involvement of Students in School
The teachers also have to be trained on ways to actively engage their students in the classroom. This active involvement in class is essential for creating interest among the students in the schoolwork. The educators will be engaged in activities that can improve the interest of students in their schoolwork as well as improving other important skills such as communication. The teachers will also be trained on the utilization of various techniques to deter students from vices such as drug abuse,
4. An outline of Implementing the Training Program
The training program will be implemented in the course of one school term. Security development will involve local law enforcement officers who will be invited to train the teachers on the basics of security. The law enforcement officers will also provide information on the issue of drug abuse such as educating them on the common drugs, and how they can identify them. Counselors will be invited in the school to engage the educators on detecting cases of drug abuse. This training will precede training on the safety of food provided to the students. The food safety training will involve health and nutrition experts. Active involvement of the students in their schoolwork will be the last part of the training. This will involve the imparting of skills for interactive teaching and use of everyday issues in the learning process such as sex education, drug abuse, and issues of street gangs.
5. Evaluation of the Program and Future Impacts on Teaming Activities
Evaluation of the program will involve continuous analysis of the performance of students in their academic activities. This will be based on the performance of the school prior to the training. Another aspect of the assessment will be the motivation of students to complete their schoolwork and other extra curricula activities (Mid Continent Comprehensive Center, 2011). This will be assessed by comparing completion of assignments after the training and completion of assignments before the training. Cases of drug abuse will also be an important part of the assessment. Issues of security such as violence in schools will provide a valuable measure of the effect of the program in the school.
6. A Description of Follow-up Activities that would be implemented
Follow-up activities that would be implemented would include continuous counseling of students with drug abuse problems. The students will be followed up to reduce the cases of relapse into the habit. Another follow up activity that would be essential for the training program would be the inclusion of other activities in the students’ assignments. Some of the activities would include having the students engage in assignments concerning issues such as gay marriages, sex education, and other day-to-day activities.