Professional Development Committee






Professional Development




“Supporting Our Learning Communities”



Foothills School Division No 38

-    and –

Foothills Local 16






February 3, 2005



                                      Table of Contents


I.          Acknowledgements


II.        Introduction                                                                                                                


III.       Foothills’ Commitment to Developing Professional Learning



IV.       Organizing Principles for Professional Development

            Program Planning in Foothills


V.        The Foothills School Division No 38 Model of Learning Communities                          


VI.       Framework for Evaluating Professional Development in Foothills                    


VII.     Key Responsibilities for Professional Development Partners in Foothills                          


VIII.    Professional Development Structure for Foothills                                                                


IX.       Appendices












I. Acknowledgments



This revised handbook is the result of the collaborative efforts of members of the Foothills local PD committee and representatives from division office.



PD Committee Members

Sherry Agasoster-Jones PD Chair and Dr. Morris Gibson Rep

Linda Schafer – PD Treasurer

Marlene Moran – Cayley School Rep

Susan Hein – Big Rock School rep

Kathy Weinacker – PD Secretary and Longview Rep

Carole Malmberg – Percy Pegler School Rep

Karen Dahlgren – Oilfields School Rep

Lori Isberg – Outreach Schools Rep

Dave Halase – Turner Valley Rep

Patti Thorne – Millerville Community School Rep

Shelley Locker – Red Deer Lake School Rep

Lori Rheaume- Foothills Composite Rep

Garry Tink – Okotoks Junior High School Rep

Jolene Christiansen – Highwood High School Rep

Maureen Close – Joe Clark School Rep

Jan Lloyd – C. Ian McClaren School

Karen Hipken – Blackie School Rep

Lynn Cunningham- Spitzee School

Denise Rose – Associate Superintendent, Division Office Rep



ATA Staff

Division Staff





II. Introduction


The purpose of this handbook is to articulate a framework for professional development within the Foothill School Division. The framework outlined in this handbook reflects an ongoing commitment to professional development focused on improving teaching practice and instructional strategies in order to enhance student learning. This handbook will guide activities directed toward developing a network of professional learning communities in Foothills School Division.


This handbook will outline:

a) organizing principles for the division’s professional development program based on established school improvement research;

b) describe the collaborative structures and processes that will support adult learning and professional development within the division;

c) identify specific strategies that will support the development of a network of school-based professional development in the division

d) describe specific procedures governing the access and funding of locally sponsored profession development activites. 


Professional development in the division continues to evolve as it moves forward toward the goal of incorporating professional learning communities in the culture of its schools. In partnership with the central office personnel, the ATA Professional Development Committee and representatives of school staffs have revised the local’s professional development handbook. The revision included a review of professional development opportunities in the division and a critical analysis of current research on effective professional development practices drawing on the Alberta Teachers’ Association Professional Development Framework.





At the heart of a learning organization is a shift of mind – from seeing ourselves as separate from the world to connected to the world, from seeing problems as caused by someone or something “out there” to seeing how our own actions create the problems we experience. A learning organization is a place where people are continually discovering how they create their reality. And how they can change it.    


—Senge. 1994.  The Fifth Discipline Field Book.






III. Foothills’ Commitment to Developing Professional Learning Communities


The Foothills Local PD Committee’s mission reads: The PD Committee on behalf of teachers in Foothills believes that professional development occurs when individuals are encouraged to expand and enhance their professional knowledge individually, on a school based and division level. The ultimate goal of professional development is to improve professional practice and enhance student learning. The role of the PD committee is one of facilitator— providing resources, learning opportunities and financial support.


The Foothills School Division mission reads: Each learner entrusted to our care has unique gifts and abilities. It is our mission to find out what these are…explore them…develop them…and celebrate them!


Professional development is critical component in working toward these missions. Emerging research that points to the benefits of creating and sustaining professional learning communities informs much of our renewed commitment to the division’s professional development initiatives. Achieving the goal of becoming a network of professional learning communities will happen only if we recognize that our school division is a complex living system. As such, we must commit ourselves to build capacity at the individual, interpersonal and organizational levels. Central to this effort is a commitment to focus our efforts at enhancing learning opportunities for students by creating schools where everyone is a learner. A passion for learning moves us past a single-minded focus on procedures and regulation; rather, it points us towards the values we share as we commit to creating tomorrow’s citizens.




Teacher development must move centre stage in school improvement. That means management systems, organizational patterns and teacher growth strategies must:


Ø  recognize individual differences among teachers

Ø  encourage teachers to reflect on their own practices

Ø  give a high priority to conversations and dialog among     teachers

Ø  provide for collaborative learning among teachers

Ø  emphasize caring communities

Ø  call upon teachers to respond morally to their work.


—Sergiovanni, Thomas. 1996. Leadership in the Schoolhouse

IV. Organizing Principles for Planning Professional Development in Foothills


The following principles guide professional development in Foothills. 


·         Professional development should be linked to the identified learning needs within the school as well as to the Education Plan goals of the division.


·         Professional development recognizes teachers’ professional judgment.


·         A variety of strategies should be provided to administrators, teachers, and support staff to promote continuous growth.


·         Building a collaborative culture among school-based PD committees is necessary to build sustainability.


·         The effectiveness of PD is best determined by the commitment to lifelong learning and professional development by practitioners at the school level is critical to sustaining higher quality teaching and student learning.


·         The role of central administration in distributing leadership and supporting school-based PD is critical.


·         As the professional voice of teachers, the ATA PD Committee is a key partner with division staff in PD planning and development.


·         PD planning and development should be informed by the broad goals of learning as established by Alberta Education and Foothills School Division in collaboration with administrators, teachers and support staff at the school level.


While ultimately teachers’ professional judgment shapes the instructional strategies used, research shows that collaboration and collective inquiry are the keys to school effectiveness. The emergence of professional learning communities provides a powerful process for building personal, interpersonal and organizational capacity among professional and support staff across the division. The following outlines how professional learning communities are envisioned in the division.







V. The Foothills Model of Learning Communities


Our concept of learning communities will include the following features:


…a focus on student learning

A. What do we want students to learn? (What are the essential outcomes for our

                 subject and grade level?)

            B. How will we know when students have learned these? (What common

                 assessments do we use?)

            C. What is the standard of mastery they have to demonstrate?

            D. How are parents being involved?



…a collective sense of responsibility for student learning

            A. How will we respond when students are not learning?

            B. As a team, what pyramid of interventions do we have in place for students who

                 are not learning the essential outcomes?

            C. As a school, what pyramid of interventions do we have in place for students

                 who are not learning the essential outcomes?       

            D. How are parents being involved?



…a culture of collective inquiry and continuous improvement

            A. To what extent do we use collective inquiry to improve our teaching?

            B. To what extent does collective inquiry influence our efforts at improving our


            C. How will we assess our improvement efforts?

            D. What data is being collected to measure improvement?



…a framework of collaborative teams

            A. To what extent has our team articulated and committed to a team charter?

            B. To what extent has our team articulated and committed to classroom

                 management strategies which enable students to maximize their learning?

            C. To what extent do team members work interdependently?

            D. What partnerships with the community are you building?



Foothills Model for Professional Learning Communities














Improved Student Learning

Quality Teaching

Shared Instructional Leadership

in Professional Learning Communities (PLC)












VI. Framework for Evaluating Professional Development in Foothills


Core Beliefs (linked to the Alberta Teachers’ Association PD Framework):


1.      In Foothills, the primary goal of professional and staff development is to improve and promote high standards of practice in order to enhance student learning. The participation by teachers and support staff in ongoing adult learning should focus on addressing the diverse learning needs of students.


2.      In Foothills, support for adult learning for staff members, including members of the teaching profession and support staff is crucial in developing networks of professional learning communities.


3.   In Foothills, professional growth is a key responsibility of the division’s teachers and is articulated through each practitioner’s Professional Growth Plan. Recognizing the rich internal diversity with the division, these growth plans represent a commitment to ongoing reflection and improvement of professional practice within the contexts of the school and classroom.


4.   In Foothills, effective professional development is practitioner driven, research-directed and sustained through a shared focus on student learning and continuous improvement. The evaluation of professional and staff development will be based on evidence of a positive impact on student learning.




Key Indicators of Effective Capacity Building in Foothills


Successful PD programs recognize the need to build individual, interpersonal and organizational capacity among school communities. The following targets for capacity-building at the personal, interpersonal and organizational levels guide our work in supporting school-based professional development:


·         A supportive climate for collaborative inquiry is fostered.

·         Inclusiveness – professional and support staff work together to enhance student learning.

·         A school based focus.

·         Coherence of individual, school and division goals.

·         PD activities are sustainable and ongoing.

·         PD is personally relevant (an add-in not an add-on).

·         PD is embedded in the school day.


When appropriately put in place and actively supported, the three levels of capacity building are powerful ingredients in meeting the learning needs of students.




Organizational Approaches in Foothills

 Learning Communities

In order to “enhance” capacity of the personal, interpersonal and organizational levels, Foothills School Division will focus on the following organizational approaches.


Approaches to Professional Practice


Knowledge Skill Development


Reflection and Inquiry








·          tend to deliver instruction


·          incorporates a broad approach to instructional design (what do disciplines have in common?)


·          looks for the linkages between students’ experiences and developmental stages (ie, brain-based learning)

·          teacher controls what is taught/what is not


·          looks for structural linkages in what students need to know and be able to do


·          sees the student as part of a school community of learners

·          assessment focused in specific accumulation of knowledge/skills by students




Approaches to Professional Development

Individual Professional

Development Model

Team Model

Learning Community Model







·          focuses on teachers’ personal growth


·          some sharing of learning strategies


·          all adults contribute to what is considered essential learning in the school-community


·          assumes teachers are knowledge experts that need ongoing ‘topping up’


·          limited exchange of instructional expertise


·          commitment to sharing vision and commitment to core values

·          PD focused on deficit model (it is always possible to add more to the teachers’ individual knowledge base)

·          core values and beliefs about learning and learners incidentally discussed


·         using data to inform decision  making

Principles of Professional Development adapted from the ATA PD Framework


In Foothills professional development of teachers is a shared responsibility among individual teachers, school staffs, the ATA, school divisions, regional consortia, the department of learning and post secondary institutions. Designing, planning and implementing effective PD programs is a complex process. It requires collaboration, informed decision making and an understanding of adult learning. The following principles describe the characteristics of and necessary conditions for effective PD programs that enhance student learning.


I.    Content Principles


Professional development:

Ÿ  is based on a shared vision and clearly stated objectives;

Ÿ  focuses on improving teaching and supporting learning;

Ÿ  is based on research into effective teaching and learning;

Ÿ  builds on teachers’ established knowledge, skills and attributes;

Ÿ  enhances the implementation of curriculum requirements, instructional strategies and assessment techniques.


II.  Process Principles


Professional development:

Ÿ  is interactive, continuous, reflective and part of the day-to-day work life of teachers;

Ÿ  engages teachers in collegial and collaborative dialogue;

Ÿ  is responsive to changing contextual variables and therefore requires ongoing monitoring and refinement;

Ÿ  encourages exploration, risk-taking and critical reflection about professional practice.


III. Context Principles


Professional development:

Ÿ  respects practitioners’ professional judgment in determining needs;

Ÿ  reflects the unique circumstances in which teaching takes place;

Ÿ  considers the needs of the teachers, school and jurisdiction;

Ÿ  operates within and contributes to the development of a collaborative learning culture;

Ÿ  is integral to the work of all teachers and support staff;

Ÿ  is supported by adequate resources, including time, funding and infrastructure;

Ÿ  requires support by networks of professional development committees, specialist councils, teachers’ conventions, school jurisdictions, regional consortia, university and other stakeholders.


Appendix 1 ATA PD Framework Design Principles and Indicators outlines in detail the indicators of these professional development principles. These indicators will be used to monitor and assess the strength of our professional development program and planning processes.


Evaluating Professional Development in Foothills







Effective PD will increase professional

and support staff capacity to

enhance student learning





Identify student learning needs


Evaluate Professional Development based on evidence of student learning


Assess and Reflect on Key Data



A focus on enhancing

student learning

Establish PD Goals and

Priorities: based on research and professional judgment of teachers


Develop a Professional Development Plan










Two over-riding questions guide the design and deployment of professional development and support staff learning activities in Foothills:

1) what are we learning? and 2) how will it impact students?


Adapted from Thomas Guskey, Does it Make a difference?    

Evaluating Professional Development. ASCD, 2003





VII. Key Responsibilities for Professional Development Partners in Foothills


Foothills local and school division support adult learning in its schools by providing resources for PD programs focused in the following areas:


1.   Individual Teacher Supports and Programs:

      a) Encouragement of individual teacher reflection and improved practice through

          Professional Growth Plans

      b) Provide opportunities for staff development of support staff

      c) Support at the school level for review and sustained support of goals and strategies

          identified in Professional Growth Plans

      d) Leadership from school-based PD committees consisting of colleagues well versed              

           in the principles of staff development (i.e. supported through workshops, conferences and

           course training)

      e) Recognition of teacher leadership in staff development as a key area of responsibility on

          the school staff


2.   School Improvement Supports and Programs:

      a)   AISI project support and monitoring

b)      External Conferences and Workshops for Teachers and Support Staff

c)      Inter-School Visitations

d)     Classroom Visitations

e)      Subject and Grade Level Meetings

g)   School/Division Level Curriculum Inservice


3.   Local No 16 Supports and Programs

      a) Individual professional development accounts

      b) School visitation release time

      c) Joint school initiatives

      d) Personal professional development initiatives

      e) National/International conferences

      f)  Leadership development for PD committee members

      g) Workshops focused on specific curricular or instructional areas

      h) First year teacher membership in a specialist council


4.   School Division Supports and Programs:

      a)   Professional Development in Leadership–Learning and Leading

      b)   Curriculum inservice

c)   Subject area meetings

      f)   New teacher orientation and inservice

      g)   System wide professional and support staff development

      h)   Mentorship programs

      i)    Calgary Regional Consortium programs


5.  Alberta Learning Supports and Programs:

      a) Inservice training and curricular roll-outs for new programs of study

      b) Funding for targeted initiatives (i.e. pilot programs, assessment projects)

      c) Base funding for Calgary Regional Consortium

      d) Ongoing support for AISI (i.e. funding, university supports, AISI Clearinghouse)

      e) Regulatory framework for teacher growth and supervision


6.  Alberta Teachers’ Association Supports and Programs

      a) Association workshops focused on specific curricular or instructional areas

      b) Association advice and coordination in leadership in professional development (i.e.

          Professional Development Area Conference, Summer Conference)

      c) Local ATA and PD Committee consultation

      d) Association programs for administrators

      e) Association Professional Learning Communities workshops

      f) Convention Board consultation

      g) Beginning Teachers’ Conference

      h) PD Conference Calendar (published annually)

      i) Specialist council conferences



Policy outlining participant access, eligibility, distribution of funds, application processes and reimbursement procedures for the professional development activities described above is contained in Appendix 2 Sources of Professional Development Funding.
























A Strategic Approach to Building Leadership Capacity at the Individual, School and Division Levels


Success in professional development programming consists of an integrated approach to division strategic planning and policy development. A systematic approach is needed by the division to adapt to changing school-community circumstances and broader policy shifts (i.e. provincial policies, societal and economic transformations). The division’s strategic goals will be best supported through a meaningful professional development program for adult learners in the division focused on creating networks of professional learning communities. Division leadership is crucial in promoting school administrators in this work. For administrators at the school level, their ongoing supervision of professional staff includes attention to the support for professional growth in terms of the Teaching Quality Standard. In this respect, accountability is a key component of the professional development program because of its continued focus on enhancing student learning.




Individual Professional

Growth Goals






                        School Education





Alberta Education

and Division

Education Plans


Improved professional practice focused on enhanced student learning















Linking individual teacher goals identified in individual professional growth plans to the priorities identified in school education plans, division and Alberta Education business plans, involves a complex mediation of professional judgment among practitioners.


Ultimately, effective professional development begins with a study of the learner, and then altering our own behavior to meet the needs of the students. The professional judgment of teachers supported by the instructional leadership of the principal is therefore central in identifying PD needs, program planning and implementation.


The ongoing supervision of teachers by administrators is a key leadership function that can be complemented by strong support for school-based PD committees and decision-making structures and processes.


The following outlines how the key processes for effective professional development will be facilitated through systematic structures and decision-making bodies in Foothills.



Characteristics of Successful School-based Professional Development in a Professional Learning Community


The following characteristics for effective professional development are embedded in the Alberta Teachers’ Association Professional Development Paper contained in Appendix 3.


       Successful professional development focused at the school level through collaboration, collegiality and cooperation can help to establish:

Ø  a sense of school unity and purpose.

Ø  individual ownership and personal meaning.

Ø  shared decision-making.

Ø  a positive learning culture.

Ø  networking, mentoring and coaching.

Ø  an open and supportive professional environment.


       Successful professional development is continuous and developmental. It should:

Ø  be thoughtfully planned.

Ø  be flexible, adaptive and ongoing.

Ø  allow time for reflection, evaluation and refocusing.


       Successful professional development is based on adult learning principles and our understanding of change. It should:

Ø  be practical and realistic (usable).

Ø  use a variety of approaches based on sound theory and research findings.

Ø  encourage risk taking and experimentation.

Ø  recognize and utilize local expertise.


       Administrative and staff support are basic to successful professional development. Such support is demonstrated through:

Ø  personal involvement and participation.

Ø  provision of release time, resources and information.


In successful professional development programs, a process for reflective evaluation is in place.






VIII. Professional Development Structure for Foothills


Overview of Organizational Structures


Currently a number of partners play a significant role in program development and planning. In order to coordinate the professional development program in Foothills, a coordinating structure and coherent processes need to be developed that reflect the different roles each of these partners play.


AISI Shared Leadership Team (ASLT)


ATA Professional Development Committee

Principal (or designate)

Key Teacher Leader(s)

Learning Coach

Learning Coordinator or External Consultant


Principal (or designate)

Teacher reps

Reps from support staff

ATA PD committee rep

(typically acts as chair

of the school-based





One rep from each school


Professional Development Committee


The ATA Professional Development Committee will support individual and school-based professional development by:

·         collaboratively establishing broad organizational strategic goals that can be interpreted and

adapted at each school site.

·         providing programs or access to programs that enhance professional development

leadership skills.

·         encouraging innovative PD approaches.


1.  Objects and Guiding Principles


The benefit of establishing broad learning directions is thought to be useful in:

·         encouraging dialogue on learning or organizational issues of wide significance

·         integrating learning efforts within the learning communities

·         as an additional stimulus to individual and school planning

·         to conceptually link school and division programs


2.  Membership


The committee will have representation from all major stakeholders including:

·         chair and treasurer

·         one representative from each school

·         one division office representative

·         one convention board representative

·         one PD facilitator (non voting)

·         one external consultant

·         one trustee representative

·         one provincial ATA staff representative (non voting)

·         one Calgary Regional Consortium (CRC) representative (non voting)

·         local president and vice president


The detailed Foothills Local No 16 Professional Development Committee Frame of Reference     appears in Appendix 4.


Information on Honorarium and Payments is contained in Appendix 5.


School-Based PD Committees


The professional development committee in each school should be formulated with the following considerations in mind:

·         there is no magic number of people on this committee, however, 3-5 is a

workable number with at least one school-based administrator

·         the chair of this committee should be the school’s representative on the PD

committee (ATA)

·         school-based professional development committee should be prepared to

review and report on the school PD initiatives


Key Responsibilities:


·         provide leadership in planning and supporting PD in the schools as professional learning communities

·         develop and implement funding procedures for school-based funded activities

·         consult and collaborate with the ATA PD Committee and the AISI Shared Leadership Teams (ASLT) in planning for professional development that supports the school’s improvement plans

·         consult and coordinate PD planning focused on individual teachers’ professional growth plans

·         coordinate in PD program development focused on individual teachers’ professional growth plans and the school’s improvement plans

·         evaluate school-based staff needs in terms of student learning goals

·         through the ATA staff representative, advise EPC on PD priorities for collective bargaining

·         conduct needs assessments and ongoing evaluation of PD programs

·         act as the voice of professional educators and school staff

·         represent the views of individual schools on the Foothills PD Committee


The Foothills School Division’s Professional Development Policy is included as Appendix 6.



External            Consultant

Local President

School Reps


Provincial ATA Staff



Foothills PD Committee






PD Facilitator



Convention Board

Division Office Reps

AISI Shared Leadership Team (ASLT)


The AISI Shared Leadership Team (ASLT) in each school provides leadership, time and resources which enable practitioners to engage in meaningful job-embedded professional development.


Key Responsibilities:


·         lead the implementation of the school’s AISI plan in consultation with the System Instructional Leadership Team (SILT)

·         consult and collaborate with the ATA PD Committee and School-Based Committee in planning professional development that supports the school’s improvement plans

IX. Appendices


1.   ATA PD Framework Design Principles and Indicators


2.   Sources of Professional Development Funding

Ø  Distribution of Professional Development Funds

Ø  PD Committee Costs

Ø  National/International Conferences

Ø  Special School-based Initiatives

Ø  Leadership Days

Ø  ATA Specialist Council Fees for Beginning Teachers

Ø  Local PD Initiatives

Ø  Sabbatical Leave Provisions and Application Procedures

Ø  PD Expense Claim Procedures


3.   ATA Professional Development Paper (2001)


4.   Foothills Local No 16 Professional Development Frame of Reference

5.   Honorarium and Payments

6.   Foothills School Division’s Professional Development Policy


Appendix 1




ATA PD Framework Design Principles

and Indicators






Professional development, based on a shared vision and clearly stated objectives, focuses on improving teaching and supporting learning.


·    school focus for PD provisions (eg, action research, school improvement)

·    school-based committees in place and funded

·    division PD committee is recognized as a leader



Professional development focuses on improving teaching and supporting learning.


·    multi-faceted approaches are used in evaluating the impact of PD initiatives

·    Professional Growth plans are used as sources of information for needs assessments

·    the focus is on student learning when PD is developed


Professional development is based on research into effective teaching and learning.


·    policy or guidelines in place connect PD initiatives and opportunities to goals and
measures of success

·    a focus on school based PD

·    funding for journal and magazine subscriptions, professional library purchases

·    improve PD opportunities in place (i.e. action research projects)



Professional development builds on teachers’ established knowledge, skills and attributes.


·    a variety of PD opportunities exists, recognizing various career stages of
teachers (eg, mentoring, graduate work)

·    professional judgment of teachers is recognized

·    career cycle of teachers is acknowledged

·    inter-school visitations

·    provision for curriculum leaders and leadership



Professional development enhances the implementation of curriculum requirements,

instructional strategies and assessment techniques.


·    specific provisions for curriculum inservice and implementation

·    consulting services and support provided
(eg, special education technology integration)

·    attendance at ATA specialist council conferences

·    equitable and transparent guidelines

·    first year teachers supported (ie, Beginning Teachers Conference)







Professional development is interactive, continuous and reflective and part of the

day-to-day life of teachers.


·    provisions for job-embedded PD (special project funding; action research)

·    multiple sources of funding (division school)

·    PD occurs during the school day(collaborative planning time)

·    a variety of activities are in place in schools (grade level meetings, debriefing parent teacher interviews)



Professional development engages teachers in a collegial and collaborative dialogue.


·    provisions for professional networking; project teams, grade/subject meetings

·    mentoring and teamwork provided  (support for mentors/protégés to attend specialist council conferences)

·    interschool visitations occur on a regular basis

·    division exchanges of teachers share promising practices



Professional development is responsive to changing contextual variables and therefore requires ongoing monitoring and refinement.


·    PD Committee in place and identified in the collective agreement and/or board policy

·    a variety of opportunities in place that reflect experience levels of teachers

·    PD planning (individual and group) linked to school and division goals

·    coordinating planning in place (PD Committee at school and division level work together)

·    PD Committee linked to central office and jurisdiction leaders

·    evaluation and monitoring of PD initiatives

·    provision to inform all teachers at PD opportunities (orientation meetings, website)

·    a variety of support for graduate work (clauses for tuition)



Professional development encourages teachers to explore, take risks and think critically of their professional practice.


·    funding for special projects; action research is available

·    support for graduate course work in place (ie, tuition, sabbaticals)

·    critical reflection among colleagues is fostered at the school level







Professional development respects the professional judgment of teachers in determining their needs and reflects the unique circumstances in which they teach.


·    provisions for teacher’s individual discretion in accessing funding

·    equitable and transparent guidelines and a range of resources

·    role of Professional Development Committee is identified

·    a school PD committee is fully resourced


Professional development reflects the unique circumstances in which teaching takes place.


·    diverse and emerging needs of schools and teachers are regularly considered in PD planning

·    flexible and responsive PD is in place

·    a PD bulletin board highlights PD opportunities


Professional development should consider the needs of the teacher, school and jurisdiction.


·    a variety of sources of funding that reflect various purposes (eg, inservice, staff
development, individual growth plans)

·    support for school-wide initiatives linked to school goals


Professional development operates within and contributes to the development of a collaborative learning culture.


·    activities focused on enhancing student learning and school goals

·    professional development encourages critical reflection about practice


Professional development is integral to the work of all teachers.


·    encourages collegial sharing of what is learned through PD

·    time and resources for PD are considered in timetabling and school-day organization


Professional development must be supported by adequate resources, including time, funding and structures.


·    funding supports both individual and group activities

·    equitable and transparent guidelines in place for funding


Professional development requires support by networks of professional development committees, specialist councils, teachers’ conventions, school jurisdictions, regional consortia, universities and other stakeholders.


·    provision for school-based committees linked to outside groups and PD providers

·    provisions for attendance at conferences outside the division/school are in place

·    numerous PD providers/partners and roles clearly identified in policy










Appendix 2


Sources of Professional Development Funding




1.  Teachers, as professionals, are committed to ongoing professional development.


2.  Foothills School Division and ATA Local No 16 have a shared responsibility to support ongoing professional development of professional staff.


3.  Teachers exercise both autonomy and responsibility in decisions concerning their

     professional development.


4.  ATA Local No 16 supports:

            - individual professional development accounts,

            - sabbaticals,

            - school-based professional development activities,

            - local PD committee initiatives and

            - international and national conferences.


5.  Ensure consistency between PD policy and practice and the Collective Agreement.


PD Funding Sources


·         collective agreement $350 per FTE

·         collective agreement sabbatical (95% of 4th year minimum)

·         ATA Local contribution of $70 per FTE

·         clause 15.2 (to be investigated)

·         school board policy (G367) $40 per FTE for school-based PD

·         school-based AISI funding


PD Fund

School- Based Fund*

- collective agreement $350 per FTE

- School board policy $40 per FTE

- sabbatical

* to go directly to schools

- clause 15.2

- School-based AISI funding



PD Committee Fund


- ATA Local contribution $70 per FTE


- national/international conference


- committee expenses/audits/mileage


- mentorship/PD initiatives


- leadership days


- PDAC expenses


- specialist council fees for beginning teachers


- special initiatives



Distribution of Individual Professional Development Funds


A. This policy governs the professional development funds for Foothills Local No 16, effective September 1, 2005.


1.   Professional Development Fund (This fund will govern PD monies allocated into the fund prior to August 31, 1004, and can be accessed until August 31, 2005.)


2.   The Board will contribute funds to Professional Development Fund as per Article 12 and Article 15.2 of the Collective Agreement.

(a)  The costs of a Sabbatical Leave as described in the Collective Agreement will be covered from this total revenue.

(b)  Paid Sabbatical Leave will be granted only for the purpose of continuing one’s education and under the terms outlined in Clause 12 of the Collective Agreement.

(c)  Selection of sabbatical leave candidates will follow the guidelines in Clause 12.2 of the Collective Agreement.


3.   Funds collected as per 15.2 will be allocated in the following year’s disbursement.


4.   Allocations to the PD Fund will be made annually to individual teacher accounts on a per FTE basis.


5.   For the 2004-2005 school year, the contribution to the PD Fund is as follows:

(a)  FSD Contribution (2003-2004 Collective Agreement) is $350.00 per FTE

(b)  FSD Sabbatical Leave Allocation  95% of 4th year minimum to the PD Fund as per article 12.1.1 of the collective agreement (In the event that no candidate is selected for sabbatical leave, the funds for same shall be added to the Professional Development fund of that year.)        

(c)  any monies collected from clause 15.2 collected in the previous school year


Calculations regarding the above are based upon the number of FTE teachers as of September 30, and the existing collective agreement.


6.   Teachers may accumulate money in their accounts to a maximum of $2 000. 

(a) A teacher who has not used the allocation shall have all subsequent allocations to the account (talk to Michael) made to the Individual Teacher PD Fund.  However, as soon as the allocation of funds falls below the total allowed allocation, all additional funds will again be allocated to the individual’s account until the total allowable allocation amount is reached.

b) When a teacher leaves the division any unexpended funds shall be returned to the Individual Professional Development Fund.


7.   Guidelines

(a)  A teacher may use funds from his/her account for professional development activities related to his/her individual professional growth plan, courses offered by a recognized university, a workshop or conference sponsored the ATA, ATA specialist councils, professional development consortia or Alberta Learning, professional reading literature, or any other professional development activity which the teacher believes meets a professional growth need.

(b)  The application, with receipts, will be forwarded to the PD treasurer.

(c)  Administrative approval shall be required only if the PD activity occurs on a school day. (??)

(d) How do you want appeals handled?



B.  The PD funds can be used for the following activities:


1.   PD committee costs (subject to budget approval) (to be developed)

2.   National/International Conferences

3.   Special School-based Initiatives (to be developed)

4.   Leadership Days (to be developed)

5.   ATA Specialist Council Fees for Beginning Teachers (to be developed)

6.   Local PD Initiatives (to be developed)

7.   Sabbatical Leave Provisions and Application Procedures





NAME:                                                 SCHOOL:                                                                

CONFERENCE TITLE:                                                                                                       

LOCATION:                                                    DATES:                                                       

RATIONALE FOR ATTENDING:                                                                                                 



Substitute Fee(s)


            days @   $                          per day



Registration Fee:






            nights @  $



Meals: Breakfast















            km   @  







                                                                             TOTAL CLAIM



***  If a substitute is required, it is your responsibility to pay for substitute costs. Also, if a substitute is needed, your principal's signature is required.


Teacher's Signature                                                                                                    


***Principal's Signature                                                                                             



Please be sure to:

- retain a copy of the form and of all receipts submitted.

- staple the receipts to the back of the form.

- forward the original copy of this form and receipts in an envelope to the ATA PD Treasurer. 



Revised to correct FTE and sabbatical amount errors: December 2004




Balance as of September 27, 2004                                          $ 194,890.13   $ 194,890.13


1.   Collective Agreement 2003–2004

                        $350/FTE        X $ 362.68                        A   $ 126,938.00


2.   FSD Contribution—School Based

      Professional Development

                        $40/FTE          X $362.68                         B   $  14,507.20


3.   2004–2005 Sabbatical—Not

      Awarded $43,608             X $0.95                             C   $  41,427.60


4.   ATA Contribution 2004–2005

                        $70/FTE          X $362.68                         D   $ 25,387.60     $ 208,260.40


                                                               TOTAL REVENUE                      $ 403,150.53



Balance Outstanding to Schools as of September 27, 2004   $ 188,377.00

National/International Conference ($1,500 X 4)                    $     6,000.00

PD Meeting Mileage (@ $0.35/km)                                        $        600.00

PD Committee Meetings                                                        $        500.00

PDL Prof. Development Leadership and PDAC                   $     3,000.00

Other: 3 audits @ $300, office expenditures,

           1 honorarium @ $200                                                  $     1,400.00

ATA Specialist Council fees (new teachers)                          $        300.00

See 2 above to be paid directly to schools                              $   14,507.20  


Special Initiatives (with approval of ad hoc sub-committee of PD):

      Mentoring (classroom visitations/shadowing)                  $    1,500.00

      Sub days for PD treasurer                                                 $    3,500.00

      School-based PD/Joint Initiatives/PD Committee            $    5,000.00

      Personal PD Initiatives                                                     $    2,000.00

      PD Committee activity                                                     $    1,500.00

                                                                                                $ 228,247.20   $-228,184.20

                                                                                                                        $ 174,966.33


2004–2005 ALLOCATION TO INDIVIDUAL TEACHER ACCOUNTS:          $ 174,966.33


$174,966.33 divided by $369.06 (Nov. 30, 2004 FTE)  =  $474.08 per FTE


1.   Teachers will be supported annually for attendance at a conference offering a national or international perspective (awarded by September 30 and April 30 annually.)

2.   The selection committee will consist of three representatives elected from the ATA PD committee.

3.   Interested teachers will complete an application to attend a major conference and forward it to the Professional Development Committee Chair on or before the deadline shown on the form. 

4.   Allocations of $3,000.00 will be awarded per deadline with each teacher eligible to receive a maximum of $1500 each. This allocation will be made from the Local 16 Professional Development budget to assist the successful applicant(s) to cover direct expenses. (Individual PD funds may also be used to offset national/international conference costs).

5.   Upon returning, the teacher(s) will submit an expense claim to the ATA PD Treasurer for reimbursement.

6.   Teachers are encouraged to share their newly gained knowledge and insights with colleagues.




Deadlines for applications are September 30 and April 30 for the current school year.


The selection will be made by three representatives elected by the Professional Development Committee.

If problems arise, the chairperson would be consulted. Considerations in this decision-making process

are as follows:

1.  Length of service in Foothills.

2.  Previous applications by the individual.

3.  Previous funding received by the individual.

4.  Subject areas receiving funding in previous ways.

5.  The willingness of the individual to disseminate learning from the conference.


Personal Information:


NAME: ________________________________  SCHOOL: _____________________________________

Home Phone: ___________________________  School Phone: __________________________________

Years of experience in Foothills (minimum 3):   _________

 Professional contributions or representation you have made to the ATA in the past five years:






Conference Details:

Name of Conference: ___________________________________________________________________

Sponsoring organization: _________________________________________________________________

Dates: ________________________________  Place: _________________________________________

Have you previously applied for major conference funding through Foothills Professional Development?

Yes ______     What year(s) __________      No ______ 

If only partial funding is available, do you wish to withdraw your application?  Yes _______ No ________ 

Rationale for attending conference (include such information as benefits for you, your students, benefits for colleagues, etc.):






(Attach additional pages if necessary)



Attach a conference schedule (if available) to the application and indicate which sessions you plan to attend.


What speaker(s) are you most interested in and why?







How do you feel information gained at the conference could best be disseminated to other teaching professionals?






Estimate of costs:

A.  Registration fee                                                              = _____________________

B.  Accommodation costs

  _______ days x $ ______ per day                = ____________________

C. Substitute costs

 ________ days x $ ______ per day              = _____________________

D.  Meals (as per receipts submitted up to the amounts shown)

                                         _______________ breakfast x $7.00                   = _____________________

                                         _______________ lunch x $10.00                        = _____________________

                                        ________________ dinner x $18.00                     = _____________________

E.  Transportation - Airfare                                                               = _____________________

Estimated total assistance required **                                            = _____________________

**(not to exceed $1,500 including sub costs) 

Date: ______________________________  Signature: _________________________________________  

If your application is successful, it will be your responsibility to inform your principal and make a short presentation to the PD Committee/staff of the school. (Refer to Appendix B)




Application for Mentoring/School-based (including Joint School)/Individual Initiatives





ACTIVITY/ PURPOSE:                                                                                                             






Sub costs:

                                days @ $                       per day


Speaker costs



Venue costs










                           km @ $                 per kilometre



                           nights @ $                    per night








Mentoring or Individual Initiatives

School-Based (inc. Joint School) Initiatives


Teacher's Signature                                          

Principal's Signature*                                        

*required for sub days

PD Committee Chair's(s') Signature(s):


Principal's(s') Signature(s):





Forward the original copy of this form and receipts to the ATA PD Treasurer.

4.   LEADERSHIP DAYS (insert)





In the event a sabbatical leave is granted, the following procedures shall apply.


Clause 12 of the current collective agreement reads:


12.1  A fund will be available for both Professional Development and Sabbatical Leaves for teachers. The fund shall be composed of:

   a)   A Professional Development fund of $300 per teacher based on the full-time equivalent teacher count as at September 30 of the previous year; and

     b)   A Sabbatical Leave fund of 95% of the fourth year minimum salary as at September 30.


12.1.1  In the event that no candidate is selected for Sabbatical Leave, the funds for same shall be added to the Professional Development fund of that year.


12.1.2  All monies not used in a specific year shall be forwarded to the Professional Development fund of the following year.


 12.2  Sabbatical leaves may be granted for periods of time equivalent to one quarter, one semester or a full year. A committee composed of three Board representatives and three teacher representatives shall select the candidate(s) for the Sabbatical(s).


 12.2.1  The equivalent of one full year’s Sabbatical Leave shall be allocated each year if there are sufficient applicants.


 12.2.2  All applications for a Sabbatical Leave shall be submitted to the Superintendent by October 31, with a copy of the Chairman of the Professional Development Committee. The Sabbatical Committee shall review all applications and select the candidate(s) by December 15.


12.3  For the guidance of this committee the following regulations shall apply:

   a)   To be eligible for a Sabbatical Leave a teacher must have been employed by the Board for at least five (5) years.

   b)   Experience increments will not be granted to teachers for the period of the Leave.

   c)   A teacher granted Sabbatical Leave shall enter into an individual written agreement with the Board on conditions under which the teacher may return to the school system at the conclusion of the Leave provided this contract does not contravene the Collective Agreement. Professional Development in Foothills School Division

   d)   Teachers granted Sabbatical Leave shall return to their duties at the beginning of the school year or the beginning of a semester, whichever occurs first, following expiration of the Leave, and the teacher shall not resign or retire from the services of the Board for at least two (2) years after return to duties. If the teacher terminates employment before the two year return service commitment, then the teacher shall reimburse the Professional Development fund and Sabbatical pay pro-rated.




A selection committee will review applications subject to the provisions of Clause 12.1 of the collective Agreement.


The selection committee will consist of:


1)   Assistant Superintendent

2)   one School Trustee

3)   PD Chair

4)   two representatives from the ATA Foothills Local No 16

PD Expense Claim Procedures                     



Professional Development Expense Claim Forms are available from Foothills Local website (www.







1.   The ATA PD Treasurer processes claims. (Please send to Linda Schafer at Spitzee Elementary School.)

2.   Submit a completed and signed hard copy including receipts (be sure to keep a copy of the claim and receipts for your files).

3.   Include your complete home address with postal code.

4.   Release costs for substitutes (approximately $165.00 per day) are deducted first from your claim.

5.   Claims are processed following the last school day of each month. If you are sending claims by courier, remember that the claim may take up to two weeks to be received.
6. The maximum amount of funds accumulated in your account




Appendix 3


Professional Development Position Paper

[1991, revised 2001]


Rationale and Background


Change is an undisputed part of our world, whether it be technological, societal, economic or political. Education must be part of the change if it is to fulfill its mandate of preparing young people not only to live in the world but also to direct and control the changing world. Teachers play a key role in educational change. To prepare teachers not only to keep pace with changes in technology, curriculum, teaching techniques and social realities, but also to predict future needs of their students and the educational system, a program of professional development must be an integral part of a teacher's professional life. Initial teacher education is but a beginning; teachers require an ongoing program of professional growth to meet the ever‑changing demands. A program of continuous professional development is a key factor in the change process for education and as such is an important part of The Alberta Teachers' Association's program of service to its members.


This belief is embedded in the 1935 Teaching Profession Act that states in part, "The objects of the Association are to improve the teaching profession by organizing and supporting groups which tend to improve the knowledge and skills of teachers and by meetings, publications, research and other activities designed to maintain and improve the competence of teachers."


This belief is further enhanced in the Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities for Teachers, which states, "Teachers have the right to base diagnostic planning, methodology and evaluation on professional knowledge and skills, and have the responsibility to review constantly their own level of competence and effectiveness and to seek necessary improvements as part of a continuing process of professional development."


Following from this belief, a primary objective of the Association's program of professional development is to establish and maintain high standards of professional practice. Within this objective there rests an obligation to provide leadership and programs that promote and develop individual teacher competence, teaching as a profession and the cause of education.


The professional development of teachers has two distinct but at times overlapping aspects. The first is the individual self‑directed responsibility for knowledge and competence; teachers accept this life‑long commitment as they begin teaching. The second aspect is that of collective professional needs; teachers recognize this as they attempt to improve the learning situation in the school and as they strive to improve their profession. Combining these two aspects produces a more complete and complex professional development program.


As professional development becomes more complex and more important to teachers, schools and the Association, it is critical to define clearly the concept and establish guidelines that would promote effective professional development programs.





One of the major difficulties in understanding the field of professional development is the proliferation of terms and definitions. The literature reflects at least three terms in current usage: professional development, inservice education and staff development. At times, these terms are used to describe the same or similar events and programs, but at other times are used to mean significantly different types of activities. The term school improvement is often used in conjunction with one or several of the previous terms in that a professional development program may be part of a broader program of school improvement.



Professional Development


The Alberta Teachers' Association defines professional development as any planned activity that provides teachers with an opportunity for growth in knowledge, skills and attitudes leading to improved teaching practice and enhanced student learning.


This broad definition encompasses a range of activities: an individual teacher's reading, exploring a website, or doing research or inquiry in the classroom; individuals or groups of teachers attending a conference or course focused on new teaching skills; groups of teachers collaboratively identifying a problem, and designing and implementing a solution; groups of teachers involved in action research or other forms of deliberate inquiry; groups of teachers working on a specialist council; groups of teachers participating in a curriculum implementation process; school staffs setting goals or identifying needs, and designing and implementing a program to meet the goals. As illustrated by the examples, a professional development program may vary in nature from individual reflective practices to collective collaborative projects by groups of teachers.


This range of activity suggests that the motivation for professional development is equally broad and diverse. Individual teachers are motivated by a sense of responsibility to improve teaching competence by seeking new techniques and new knowledge. Groups of teachers seek improvement in curriculum matters, school organization and teaching methods to further their individual and collective competence and to improve the learning environment for students. In spite of the breadth of the definition and the range of activities that it includes, a common set of guidelines for effective professional development can be identified. This set of principles is outlined following the section on definitions.



Inservice Education

Inservice education is a form of professional development. The term inservice originally was used to distinguish between the program of preparation for teaching provided at university and the continuation of that program as teachers began and pursued their careers. The preservice/inservice distinction suggests that a teacher's commitment to and interest in acquiring new knowledge and improving teaching skills and strategy is ongoing, a life‑long process of growth and development. Such terms as continuing teacher education or continuing education are alternatives to the term inservice education. In the mid 80's, the term inservice gradually disappeared or certainly decreased in prominence in the literature, being replaced by the terms professional development or staff development. Much of the current usage of the term inservice is more narrowly focused and combined with the curriculum and instruction change process, so that when one reads inservice often the implication is curriculum inservice. Alberta Learning makes frequent mention, if not provision for, inservice in its curriculum documentation.

Inservice or curriculum inservice can be defined as that set of activities, experiences and processes that prepares a teacher to successfully implement the curriculum.


Curriculum inservice is a type of professional development. While the same set of necessary principles or guidelines for success apply, a few additional features are required to reflect the joint nature of the enterprise, which includes Alberta Learning, school jurisdictions and universities.



Staff Development


Staff development is school‑focused professional development described as the collective set of experiences involving the individuals and the context in which they work; it is defined as those processes that improve the job‑related knowledge, skills or attitudes; it is based on participant‑identified needs and concerns, and has the potential to transform not only teaching practice but the school community. In this definition the emphasis has moved from individual teachers to a collective body of professionals within the school.


Research on educational change confirms that the most effective unit of change is the school. The most likely site of change in knowledge, skills and attitudes is the school as it involves staff in a collective action. Staff development that focuses on changes identified by the teachers within a school is an important component in the change process. This type of professional development shifts the emphasis from individual competency to a collective collegial emphasis.


The focus of the program of staff development may be curriculum, teaching strategies or school organization related to school climate, team building or collegiality. The Association believes that staff development is an important form of professional development that has potential to significantly alter teaching practice. Staff development is usually viewed as an integral component of a school improvement plan. It has the potential to transform the roles of teachers. Teachers are central in a program of school improvement and, to prepare them for this role, staff development is critical.


Professional development, described as any planned activity that provides teachers with an opportunity to improve their teaching practice, includes inservice and staff development as specific variations.



Professional Development and School Improvement


Professional development has a central role in school improvement. Proposals to reform, restructure or transform schools must incorporate professional development as a means to bring about the change. Professional development that has the potential to improve schools and influence student learning must be much more than the traditional program that involves only conference attendance and a few isolated, disjointed workshops. It must be contained in the day-to-day life of the school and supported by increased time and other resources.

Professional development for school improvement must be supported by (1) school norms of  collegiality and experimentation; (2) division and school administrators who work with staff to clarify goals and expectations, and actively commit to and support teachers' efforts to change

their practice; (3) efforts that are strongly focused on changes in curricular, instructional and classroom management practices with improved student learning as the goal; and (4) adequate, appropriate professional development experiences with follow-up assistance that continues to encourage improved professional practice. Professional development both influences and is influenced by the organizational context in which it takes place.


In planning professional development, there is a set of essential qualities to be considered.



Qualities of Effective Professional Development Programs


Professional development programs should be conducted in a supportive climate of trust, peer support, open communication, collegiality and collaboration that provides an opportunity for teachers to grow personally and professionally. Collegiality and collaboration are essential features of effective professional development programs. In this context collegiality means a willingness to share and solve common problems. It increases collective understanding and helps to build a common mission, while helping individuals develop their skills. Collegiality means more than getting along: it is connecting on a professional level with other staff in examining new ideas or providing a forum to test models of teaching. Collaboration means a mutual definition of a problem and a shared process of decision making and problem solving. Teachers and administrators in schools where collegiality and collaboration are the norm build a common language as they focus on the practice of teaching in a climate where everyone, individually and collectively, constantly seeks improvement.


There is a wide range of professional development opportunities and activities including conventions, conferences, seminars, school visitations and projects. A well‑designed program integrates the activities into a long‑term continuous form. The program designers should consider the organizational context of the participants. The social context or culture of the school can affect the effectiveness of the program. Attention must be paid to understanding the integration of the people in the school or department or system; there should be an attempt to decrease isolation and to provide a more integrated system with stronger collegiality. Teachers must believe that they can make a difference through their actions. Professional development programs that place heavy emphasis on support activities and involve teachers in decision making and planning provide a sense of ownership and thus are more likely to be successful in improving teaching practice and school organization.


There is a clear statement of purpose and objectives that is communicated to all participants. The program fits into the vision for the school. Many studies indicate that teachers relate best to programs that are directly based on curriculum development and improved instruction; student needs are often a focal point. Although the ultimate goal of a professional development program is improved professional practice, the specific objectives or goals may vary widely from teacher to teacher or from school to school. Once the general purpose has been identified and communicated, it is equally important that specific objectives are also very clear.


Professional development programs should be based on needs identified by the participants. Knowledge about the nature of adult learners and about change support the conclusion that most teachers wish to be involved in deciding the direction of their professional development. Top‑down programs do not reflect the needs of participants as accurately as programs determined by the participants.


A professional development program should be long‑term in design and include monitoring and opportunity for adaptation. There are no simple solutions to complex problems. Professional development of the one‑time only variety may not alter teaching practice. Research on change indicates that the process takes time and must be supported by an ongoing series of connected activities and events.


Those planning the program should take into consideration theories of adult learning and the change process. Professional development is change and, like any change, requires time and should be viewed as a process, not an event. Planners should recognize the resistance to change that participants will feel as they encounter different teaching techniques, new curriculum organization or different beliefs and should make provision for stages of acceptance and implementation.


Teachers as adult learners often wish to integrate work, education and leisure and this should be incorporated into plans for professional development. Also, adults as self‑directed learners should be involved at all stages of planning and implementation. They express strong desires that the program meet immediate needs and be practical as it integrates new ideas with old in a continuous pattern of ideas and skills. Adult learning theory stresses the importance of experience; therefore, opportunity to use the experience of the participants and time to reflect and analyze experience is critical in a professional development program.


Delivery of a professional development program must take many factors into account. First, the readiness of the participants must be considered and, if necessary, enhanced through experiences and activities that lead to the particular program. The nature of the learner is another significant factor, as the age, experience and background determine the nature of the program. Teachers in the beginning of their careers require different professional development than their colleagues in the middle or the end of their careers. There should be a variety of activities including experiential learning activities that are relevant and immediately useful. Within these activities there should be opportunities for presentation of theory, demonstration or modeling, and coaching followed by feedback. Perhaps the most significant factor is the provision for adequate time for professional development programs within the school year. Teachers spend many hours of their own time on professional development but significant amounts of time must be available during school time whether it be provided by professional development days, early closure or release time.


Support from administration and school boards in providing adequate time, resources and personnel is critical. The support of school‑based administrators for the program is necessary if any change is expected, particularly in the staff development type of professional development. Administrators may offer direct support by participating on committees and in professional development events but they can also offer indirect assistance by providing time and opportunity as well as moral support in the form of praise and encouragement.


Evaluation, like other parts of the program, is continuous and ongoing, and generally formative in nature. Evaluation will be part of the planning cycle to allow for program improvement and changes in focus. Emphasis could be placed on the effect of a professional development program on meeting the needs of students as well as the changed teaching practice.


The program should support experimentation and risk taking. Teachers should be encouraged

to try new techniques and skills through a planned set of experiences. There is a constant need for experimentation as teachers attempt to meet changing needs in the classroom. The ability to take risks and to learn from failure demands a trusting environment for learning. Related to this sense of experimentation would be the legitimization of the role of teacher‑as‑researcher involved in a disciplined inquiry into important areas of teaching and learning.


A comprehensive program of professional development attempts to integrate individual, school and division goals. A program may focus on any one of the three levels but the potential of an integrated program is much more powerful. Professional development goals should be formally located within the policy and organizational structures of the division and/or schools.



Responsibilities for Professional Development


The need for professional development is a fact of life understood by business, industry and education. Given its importance in education, it follows that the responsibility for providing effective professional development is shared by individual teachers, teachers as members of school staffs, The Alberta Teachers' Association, school jurisdictions, Alberta Learning and universities.


The Alberta Teachers' Association believes that teachers, individually and collectively, have a responsibility for professional development to maintain proficiency in new knowledge, new curriculum and new technologies and methodologies and to prepare for new roles as coaches, facilitators, researchers and problem solvers.


Individual teachers can read professional journals and texts, attend conferences, courses and workshops, write curriculum materials and articles, present workshops and study sessions, conduct research projects and reflect upon their practice.


Collectively, teachers can participate in these same activities but they also, as members of school staffs, can engage in problem identification and solution, set goals for professional development programs for the staff, plan and evaluate school‑based programs.


The Association further believes that it has a responsibility first to ensure that opportunities for professional development are available for teachers and second to design and promote effective programs for the development and growth of teachers. To this end, the Association provides a variety of programs including a professional lending library, specialist councils, convention associations, local and provincial programs, courses and workshops.


Local associations have a responsibility to provide adequate resources to support an effective professional development program for teachers at the local level. This includes maintaining a professional development committee which is responsible for planning and implementing a program to meet the professional development needs of the teachers in the local.


School jurisdictions have a responsibility to provide support and resources that allow teachers to plan and implement a professional development program. Resources include adequate time, either through professional development days, team teaching and planning or release time, and a budget to facilitate the program. By providing a central fund, the school jurisdiction can ensure that there is equality of access for professional development in all schools. Support for the program can be demonstrated by a board's willingness to make professional development, including curriculum inservice, a significant portion of its overall operation. This can be demonstrated by sabbatical leaves for professional development, special funds for curriculum inservice, grants for innovative practice and publication of successful professional development programs.


Universities also have a responsibility in a collaborative view of professional development. Their major focus is the pre‑service side of the continuum but they should also provide credit and non‑credit courses in emergent issues and trends for practicing teachers, including appropriate graduate programs. Current examples would be computer courses, global education and special needs programs such as integration and mainstreaming. Universities can provide resource persons for professional development programs at the division or school levels and provide assistance in teacher‑designed research projects. Universities could enter into partnerships with school jurisdictions and local associations for the design and delivery of a professional development program, which might include a collaborative research component.


Alberta Learning has a responsibility to provide funds for professional development in a manner that reflects the principles of effective professional development. In the area of curriculum inservice, the department has additional responsibilities: to involve teachers in meaningful roles in all phases of design and implementation; to adequately fund the implementation of curriculum change including the provision of resources, materials and technology; to allow adequate time for inservice; to allow equal access to inservice programs for all teachers; to plan inservice that follows the principles of effective curriculum inservice.


Professional development is an important component of education and educational change. It is critical that all those involved in the professional development enterprise fulfill their roles and responsibilities in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.






























Appendix 4






A.  Name


The name of this committee shall be the Professional Development Committee of the Foothills Local No 16, ATA.



B.  Objects


The professional development committee shall be the advocate for professional development opportunities and activities undertaken in the jurisdiction. The work of the committee will be undertaken in accordance with the professional development policies of the provincial Association (attached) and the Foothills Local, ATA constitution.



C.  Duties and Responsibilities


   1.  In general:


a.   The professional development committee will help build linkages between the various professional development opportunities for teachers. school-based, local institutes, conventions, inservice, specialist councils, etc.


b.   The professional development committee will generally exercise leadership in all matters pertaining to all professional development activities undertaken by the local.


c.   The professional development committee is responsible to the local for a yearly financial statement and for a written annual report of its activities.


   2.  In particular:


   The professional development committee has the following duties:


   a.   To be responsible for the active promotion and organization of school-based professional development activities through representation to the PD Foothills Advisory Committee.


   b.   To seek input and feedback from teachers and/or school staffs in regard to professional development needs and how these needs can best be met.


   c.   To disseminate information about professional development activities through newsletters.


   d.   To recommend, where appropriate, changes in the policies of the school jurisdiction, collective agreement and/or the constitution of the local teachers. association which have an impact on the mandate of the professional development committee.


   e.   To consult with professional development staff officers, district representatives, professional development facilitators (as assigned) and members of the local.


   f.    To attend, if possible, Professional Development Area Conferences and the PD Course at Summer Conference.


   g.   To assist in coordinating and developing local responses to professional development issues through the PD advisory committee.


   h.   To ensure that appropriate payments are made.


   i.    To provide expertise and financial assistance, where possible, to school staffs and other teacher groups in the area of professional development.


   j.    To develop and maintain a budget.


   k.   To keep a record of the minutes of the meetings.


   l.    To establish operational policy and procedures for any subcommittee that may be formed for the professional development committee.


   m.  To establish procedures through policy handbook for the consideration of funding applications for conferences, school and school-system professional development activities.


D.  Membership


   1.  The professional development committee shall consist of the following voting members:


   a.   (1) representative(s) from each school in the division;

   b.   (1) representative(s) from the central office (non-voting);

   c.   (1) representative(s) from the substitute teachers.;

   d.   (1) representative(s) from the teachers. convention association.


   2.  The district representative and those staff officers and professional development facilitators who may attend professional development meeting from time to time shall be non-voting members of the professional development committee.


   3.   The president of the local or designate acting in an ex-officio capacity shall also be a member of the professional development committee.


   4.  The members of the professional development committee are expected to:


   a.   Attend all meeting of the professional development committee or if unable to attend, to ensure that a substitute representative is present;


   b.   Be prepared to serve on a subcommittee of the professional development committee;


   c.   Provide full and effective communication for their constituency both to and from the professional development committee;


   d.   Elect annually from its members the following officers: a chair, a vice-chair and a secretary-treasurer (or a secretary and a treasurer). These positions are called .the officers. of the committee.



E.  Officers


   1.   The officers of the professional development committee shall consist of the chair, a co- chair and a secretary-treasurer (or a secretary and a treasurer).


   2.   These officers on the professional development committee will be elected from and by the teacher members of the committee.


   3.   The officers of the professional development committee are expected to:


   a.   Chair

§  Call meeting of the PD committee as the need arises.

§  Set the agenda for each meeting.

§  Chair all committee meetings.

§  Attend Local Council meetings and submit a report of committee activities.

§  Attend Policy Committee meeting.

§  Attend Professional Development Area Conferences (PDAC) called by the region.

§  Review the PD Guidelines with new committee members early in the school year.

§  Act as a member of the Executive Committee.

§  Submit an annual report to the Local.

§  Submit an annual budget to the Local for approval.




   b.   Co-chair

§  .Assist the chair in the discharge of duties.

§  .it on the Professional Development Advisory Committee.


   c.   Secretary-Treasurer

§  Keep accurate business records of all professional development meetings;

§  Perform such other internal communications functions as may be assigned from time to time;

§  Prepare a budget;

§  Record all monies received and disbursed;

§  Present financial statements at meetings, as necessary;

§  Make available professional development books for an audit;

§  Prepare, prior to the local’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), a yearly financial statement for the treasurer.



F.  Term of Office


   1.   All professional development committee members, officers and subcommittees are deemed to be elected (as per the Foothills Local constitution).



G.  Committees


   1.   The professional development committee shall establish subcommittees from time to time as required.



H.  Emergency Replacements


   1.   Vacancies in any office of subcommittee shall be filled at the next properly called meeting of the professional development committee.



I.  Meetings of the Professional Development Committee


   1.   The professional development committee shall meet four times a year or as deemed necessary.


   2.   Notice of intent to hold a meeting shall be given to members as soon as possible with agenda sent to each school representative.


   3.   It is the duty of each elected member of the professional development committee to attend meetings for the purposes of reporting and communicating.



J.  Quorum


   1.   A majority of the voting representatives on the professional development committee shall constitute a quorum.



K.  Rules of Procedure


   1.   The proceedings of all meetings shall be regulated by the official rules of procedure as published in the ATA Members. Handbook.



 L.  Finances


   1.   The professional development committee will be funded annually by the local.


   2.   The professional development committee shall prepare and submit to the local an annual budget.


   3.   The professional development committee will reimburse members and disburse funds on the basis of the attached schedule according to the policies outlined in Appendix G.



 M.  Ratification of this Frame of Reference


This Frame of Reference shall be approved in accordance with the terms of the local constitution.

N.  Amendments to this Frame of Reference


   1.   Amendments to the Frame of Reference shall be made in accordance with the following procedure:


   a.   Notice of Motion of Intent to Amend shall be given at a preceding professional development committee meeting.


   b.   Except when time is of the essence, the text of proposed amendments shall be made available in writing to the members prior to the meeting.


   2.   The amendment shall be approved by a two-thirds vote of the professional development committee members.


   3.   The amendment shall be approved by the majority of teachers of the local council at a properly called meeting.



Appendix 5


Honoraria And Payments


The following payments shall be made annually:


1.  ATA PD Treasurer plus 20 release days         $200.00

2.  Secretary of the PD Committee.

(payment for sub for a PD conference.)         $138.00

3.  Fee for auditing books.                                   $300.00