Feb 12, 2010

No Professional Development Day For You- DC Teachers !

How did your professional development day shape up ?

No Child Left Behind's (NCLB) emphasis on accountability and demands for a high quality teacher in every classroom has spawned an industry of professional development opportunities. Although DC schools had been closed most of this week due to unprecedented snow accumulations - this Friday school opened on time @ 8 a.m. (unlike the Feds) only to teachers, service providers and administrative staff for what was scheduled to be a full day of professional development. Chancellor Rhee confirmed the importance of this day in a written email in which she stated: "Because we have such a limited number of these days, and because the worst of the weather has passed, I have decided to move forward with the scheduled activities tomorrow." The agenda in many schools included more on the job training on the IMPACT evaluation (the new teacher evaluation) in which many teachers have complained that training has been wholly inadequate so far.

DCPS teachers and related service providers including myself received an email yesterday evening alerting them that all off-site professional development sessions in DC public schools were cancelled due to inclement weather. We were told to report to our school site. A copy of this announcement was also posted on the DCPS website on February 12.

DC Teacher Chic tweeted earlier today: "Neither the principal, the vice principal, nor the instructional coach is here. Who is running this so-called professional development? " So far I have heard two reports of how city-wide professional development day went for most- one that half of the teachers showed up and professional development was called off and another that half of the teachers showed up and professional development started at 10 and ended at noon. Some teachers were advised by school administrators that they could do whatever they wanted to do with the remainder of the afternoon including go back home.

I'd love to hear how your professional development day went at your school. Please feel free to weigh in with your stories.

Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson - blogger in residence


Anonymous said...


Our professional development was called off!

Did I show up to get this surprising news? No!
The other suckers in my school did and they were furious.

Are you kidding me???? Anyone with one ounce of God given common sense or backbone would have taken the day. I am sick and tired of teachers asking for respect and when they have an opportunity to gain it......they show up with their tails between their legs begging someone--anyone to train them. Train them on a day that obviously was a no brain-no gain kinda day!

So, for those of you who plowed through to get to your sleigh-- tell me........what did you learn in PD today?

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing from various teacher friends in other schools that they didn't have PD today, as the coaches didn't come. That's what happened at my school too. Any comments?

Anonymous said...

At my school, PD was held but was over before 12:00 and folks were basically told to go home.

No PD For Us said...

At my school, we worked in our classrooms all day which was great. Most of us were present except the chick who was supposed to do the PD on one of the Ts on IMPACT. I won't say it was a wated day, as I got a lot done. But there was no PD, just lesson plans.

Anonymous said...

A total waste of time!!! The presenters were horrible. One even brought her children. It was hard to hear and hard to follow. A total waste of a day!!!

Anonymous said...

I see nothing in the post about DCPS not being granted 2 hour delay, that is really my only beef about this thing cause if the FEDS go back then I suppose so should we (didn't want to but.... )I'm annoyed that there is nothing in the local media about this issue, and in light of the travel issues today I think Rhee should be asked, "Why did we have to be at school for 8:00 a.m. or in some cases earlier?". Actually, that is another issue the public does not know about, that DCPS start time is not the same as DC Government, which is 8:45 a.m. Can we get this story out too, or is everyone done caring about this issue?

Anonymous said...

My school basically does whatever they want on PD day and even divides us up for other types of supposedly important training that they have paid for through some grant (with is basically worthless training and yet another claim to a great strategy or program we supposedly do).

How they get away with doing whatever they want and not having any accountability is beyond me? How we keep getting grants to pay for overpaid professional developers that seemingly offer very little practical experience, strategies, advice, etc... is unfathomable. Education is big business and there is LOTS of money to be made in many ways for sure!

All I know is that PD is a complete waste of time given the quality of PD that we are offered. PPT slides and "training" teachers how to do better on IMPACT is a huge waste of time and money. Having guest speakers talk on their high horses with their theories (or experimental practices or supposed "research based" strategies) is an insult to hard working teachers that would love to have some of their PD time to actually collaborate and work with their fellow colleagues. Instead, we are treated like children to write with markers on chart paper and list out our thoughts and ideas. We aren't trusted with our own time to work with our fellow colleagues to plan for things that will DIRECTLY and IMMEDIATELY impact our students.

I think that notifying teachers that off-site training is canceled and yet still expecting teachers to get to their schools to sit around and twiddle their thumbs like children sitting in a classroom in front an unprepared teacher would sure earn the administrators and RHEE a low IMPACT score! Where is the rubric to assess RHEE's PD days? Oh that's right, the only accountability in DCPS is for us lazy and replaceable teachers.

Kings said...

Hold it -- you mean central admin was open for business all week, this PD day was scheduled months in advance and it still didn't come off? Where's the planning and management here?

Anonymous said...

Hey Candi,

George says "we" (I guess that means "he" and "Rhee") are very close to a contract.....

Yeah, I know....we've heard it before (try about 10 times before). Is this another ploy since he knows an election is right around the corner??????? He's got to produce something for the members, even if it is AWFUL!

Listen and tell me what you think!


Anonymous said...

Dr. Nyankori said in the special ed news letter that As a result of the inclement weather, we have 
cancelled our off site professional development 
scheduled for Friday, at Columbia Heights 
Education Campus (CHEC). So interesting that there is an excuse for managers when they don't deliver.

Jackie Dee said...

Where is Ms. Rhee? Has she been in the DC area this past week? Some superintendents of other school systems were interviewed by the news media concerning make-up days and when schools will re-open. Was she interviewed? Was she in the area? Hmmmm......

Anonymous said...

No PD for anyone who showed up at my school. There were less than 50 percent of our staff who even showed up.

We were told not to complain and that we would have about six morning sessions of PD instead of our morning planning time for the next six school days.

So, we go in thinking we need to be there for PD, the coaches say they are not ready and since so many people are not there this is the plan. It is strange that we made an effort to be there and still have to be penalized for people not planning effectively for a PD or not showing up on a workday. So we all lose our planning, not just those who did not show up.

Glad to see that Rhee felt that today was so important. Too bad she wasn't at my site to see what went on.

Anonymous said...

Our PD was held as usual. God, I wish it wasn't. It was about Teach 5 (check for understanding). PD didn't start til 9 we got to go to lunch at 1 (yes 1 p.m!!) and it went one for at least another 30 min after lunch. The PD made me want to stab my eyes out with a pencil. Oh and by the way, the sidewalk from the metro to the school has not seen a shovel since....well never. I had to walk on a BUSY street to get to school. Guess the kids will have to brave the street on Tuesday if it all doesn't melt!!!!

Anonymous said...

Called off at my school. only 5 teachers present...

Anonymous said...

No training for itinerant related service providers.

No PD For My Friend said...

Just spoke with my friend who said half of the staff wasn't at her school for PD, including the person who was supposed to give it. So they just graded papers and put up bulletin boards. The same thing happened at my school.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 7:08

I am an IC and I presented the pd as planned at my school. I, nor did the teachers at my school, show up with our tail between our legs. Those of us that did show up today did have enough common sense and/or backbone to realize that if it wasn't safe for us to show up then we were to stay home. Those of us that were able to come, came. In this situation, people did what they felt was in their best interest and that does not make anyone suckers.

It would have been great to be able to have a two hour delay but it really doesn't surprise me that she had us come in on time because it is obvious that she could care less about the faculty and staff of this district. I will admit that I was not prepared to present today because none of the ICs had access to the powerpoint but with the help of my principal, I made it work.

Mr. Potter said...

At my school, the majority of staff were present and the admins all showed up... eventually. Even so, we didn't start until 11:00 and we were let go at 1:30. So, you know, I feel developed.

I'm not going to claim that I spent the entire snowcation planning, but still I'd like to think that if teachers were in charge of running this PD we would have had our ish together. Oh well -- at least we all got our copies ready for Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

After a great deal of chaos, we held our PD around 12. Not many were there, but at least I don't have to repeat the PD when my colleagues come back to work. I would have preferred to work in my room, but oh well.
Everyone is complaining about going back to work, but the city is going to be in this sorry state for some time to come. We may as well get used to this.
I have bigger fish to fry with Ms Rhee. More layoffs are coming, more games are going to be played. All I can say is watch your back.

Anonymous said...

...when you spend most of your time on the left coast..how can you realistically evaluate this kind of situation?????..this will implode...the sociopathic behavior has gained momentum...pray...have faith...this is karma in play...watch...

The Wash. Teacher said...

Jackie Dee:

I don't know the answers to your questions about Rhee but I am sure someone will inform us soon. I haven't seen Rhee interviewed about the snow make up days. My bet is Fenty told her to keep a low profile for now.

Kings said...

IC, you said that you would "admit that I was not prepared to present today because none of the ICs had access to the powerpoint"

What do you mean? why didn't you have access to the powerpoint? was everyone supposed to use the same powerpoint presentationthroughout the system? Who produced the powerpoint? Please explain.


Anonymous said...

I work in a High School in Upper Northwest near the Takoma Station Metro station.

The Red Line Train was running smoothly, but I nearly fell walking to work as many of the side streets were icy and unplowed in Ward 4. I found this surprising considering that this was Mayor Fenty's former Ward when he was a Councilman.

The Streets surrounding our school were plowed, clear, and filled with ice melt. Our large parking lot was plowed down to the pavement, which I found very surprising.

Our custodial staff had the school looking better than all the residential streets that surround the high school. Maybe the mayor should have asked our school custodians to assist him with shoveling out the rest of the unplowed, dicey Ward 4?

Nevertheless, I was very surprised that the Principal and all three Assistant Principal's showed up. Also, the majority of our large staff of teachers were there as well. There were only about 7 teachers who were absent. Yet, nearly 50 other teachers were present.

All the teachers arrived by 8:15 am. at the latest. Our PD started at 9:30 a.m. and was on T8 and T9. Our Principal, yes our Principal, went through the entire PD sessions throughout most of the day until around 2:00 p.m. We don't have Coaches on staff at our school.

It was very interesting as our Principal was thorough and involved the entire staff in many skits and completion of the many, many worksheets and questions. I felt that I did learn something.

We went to lunch later than normal which allowed us more time to lesson plan and catch up with our co-workers.

In no way did I feel that it was a waste of a PD day as the powerpoints that DCPS sent our principal were filled with a lot of valuable information.

I do however feel that all DCPS teachers should have been able to stay home and make PD up at some other time.

By the way, the Red Line had derailed while we were at work. Walking back to Takoma Station and waiting hours to get home was out of the question for the many teachers who caught the train.

Fortunately, the teachers who did drive took the other teachers home to avoid the long, long, waits to get home via the Red Line.

I am sorry so many of my teacher colleagues around the city has horror stories of PD.

Anonymous said...

I think Rhee's in town too, if only because she was quoted in the 2/7 Post puff piece about how "celebrities" were coping with the snow. She was eating her Mom's home cooking. Of course that could have been made up too.

If Fenty told her to keep a low profile, it's one more sign of his incompetence. She's out bashing teachers all year long, but can't show her face to offer some support in a storm. Instead, her sudden, uncharacteristic disappearance from public view leads people to suspect she's frolicking with her fiance in sunny Sacramento.

DC School Counselor said...

My staff development consisted of the following:

a. A briefing from the national and local status of the impact of the 2010 snow conditions.
b. Warnings by regional police, fire, and leadership of the effected areas (except ours) to stay off the roads and allow emergency and road crews opportunities to do their jobs!
c. Repeated looks at my SUV under snow, my house under a blanket of snow, my street covered with snow. I live in DC. One effort to remove enough snow for a one way in and a one way out driving course.
d. A RTI-Response to Intervention- I had enough supplies to make it for a week (food, etc.)
e. My family was safe and at home.
f. No need for hospital intervention due to falls, etc.
g. A promise to do work that I promised myself last year

On a scale from 1-4 with 4 (IMPACT) being excellent-no need for improvement...I rated the day a 5+.
At 7:55 I emailed that I would not be in-at 8:00 a.m. I called the principal to rely the same message.

Anonymous said...

Washington Teacher,
Please, please send these comments to the media and the DC Council. Most people don't know that we went to work for a PD, and in my school, unlike some others we were told that we had to be on time (school hours)not 2 hours delay. Glad to hear not everyone's PD was a waste of time but REALLY. I didn't get home for hours, stuck on metro - but thankfully not on the red line. I think there is growing momentum against Fenty and Rhee, as other become affected by there behavior in more obvious ways, it's good it is not just seen by teachers. Plus the news that TFA may lose funding, or at least it will have to be shared with others (Maybe Rhee will now have to start being nice to us veteran teachers). This is our time!!!

Anonymous said...

I didn't mind going in, if it had been worthwhile. I parked in my cleared parking lot, but had to walk to my building in the streets on two extremely busy streets, one of which had recently seen a fatal accident of a pedestrian two months ago, in good weather as the walkway from the parking lot and to the building had not been cleared. Then I had to wait outside for 20 minutes because no one was there to open the door.

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher at Transition Academy @Shadd. Most teachers and staff were present but no Principal. PD was presented by our IC and I was surprised to see someone from the central office joined our PD day. I learned a few things.

I agree with most of everyone here. The road condition going to work and school parking lot was atrocious. Fenty and Rhee should've drove around the city by themselves and no chauffeur so they'll know how much danger they put DCPS workforce in danger.

lodesterre said...

It was simply a waste of day. This was done simply to show the world that M. Rhee will not stand idly by (in sunny California) allowing teachers to be lazy. She showed us!

Anonymous said...

From what I'm trying to gather Candi, the majority of the schools had 10 or less staff members in and this included the administration..people I know at Sharpe, Ludlow Taylor, JO Wilson, Savoy, Anacostia, Ferebee Hope, Wheatly didn't even go. I'm trying to get in contact with a friend of mine at Savoy she didn't go but she sent me a text and said only 3 showed up and no administrators.

DCPS School Psychologist said...

My school was virtually deserted - I saw a total of 9 people 2 administrators, 1 office staff, 1 school nurse, 2 security guards, 2 building engineers, 1 special education social worker and myself, the special education psychologist. Other staff may have been in the building in their classrooms or offices but needless to say there was no staff development.

Committed DC teacher said...

Hi Candi,
We shared our Prof. Dev. with another school since there only 10 teachers combined from the two units, of which eight were present. I made it because I limped four blocks to a main street to get a ride from a cooworker who parks in a garage. Our training was done by a very engaging woman who got the call the night before. It lasted about two and a half hours because we asked a lot of questions and had lots of discussions (that's our nature). Only about half of the other schools teachers were present. If we could get technology savvy, we could have all streamed this info. in on our computers. It's time for online professional development or broadcast session that can be recorded. Other systems in several other places do this. This is a situation comparable to Israel's medical team and the US medical team in Haiti. Twenty first century compared to maybe twentieth century. That response made us look bad. We used to get broadcast messages from a former superintendent. We could save a lot of money and wouldn't have to bring so many people in from everywhere else. Our facilitator was a new hire from North Carolina, which out seven, there has only been one seasoned DC school teacher facilitator for us.

HELP!! No sense like common sense.

Anonymous said...


Every PD on the teach standards are created by OPD. My school did T8 and the presentation (powerpoint and handouts) I gave is the same as any other person who presented T8 yesterday however we are allowed to tweak somethings here or there depending on what works for our school site. So yes, the powerpoints are basically the same throughout the district.

They usually post the final version of the presentation about a week before the PD day but since we were out, I didn''t have access to the final draft of the presentation and therefore I was not prepared for the PD day.

Anonymous said...

We had about 75% of our staff present, probably because our principal reads email and saw the message that Rhee allowed principals to choose the opening time for their school.

We started at 10 a.m., completely unprepared because the coaches just got the training on this the week before, then were called out for a meeting, then we got hit by the snow. They did a good job though, probably because they didn't force that damn powerpoint on us.

Anonymous said...

Candi----PLEASE SEND ALL THESE COMMENTS TO THE POST! Let everyone know that Rhee and Fenty are messing up everywhere in every way! It was just plain STUPID to have PD on Friday!

Kings said...

Anonymous - thanks for getting back to me. But I'm still confused. when you say that they post it, I assume you mean on the internet, and since you're posting here now, I assume you have internet access at home. Are you saying that the PD could not be accessed at home? If so, that seems odd.

Anonymous said...

What email that principals were allowed to choose the start time, please elaborate. We were told the opposite, we had to be there on time. Hmmmmm!

usereason said...

My principal advised us to be at school between 8:30 and 8:45. PD began between 9:30 or 10:00. I'm not sure. It ended at 2:30 and we were allwowed to leave at that time. It was a good day, and I was glad I was able to drive there safely and not take leave. I was glad we were allowed to begin later than 8 am and leave before early.

We had good attendance at my SE DC school and the training was average quality, just as it has been all year. I did not think it was a waste of time (although I would gladly have stayed in bed, if DCPS decided to go that route).