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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO
An Evaluation and Career Development Alternative
A Planning Guide



 

  Table of Contents  

Overview

  1. PROJECT GOALS
  2. GENERAL METHOD
  3. DETAILED PLANS

Year One

  1. CADRE PLANNING--SUMMER #1
    Cadre Formation, Defining a Personal Teaching Portfolio
  2. LARGER STAFF PROGRAM--YEAR #1:
    Introduction to Personal Teaching Portfolios

Year Two

  1. CADRE PLANNING--SUMMER #2
    Define Framework for Professional Development Portfolio
  2. LARGER STAFF PROGRAM--YEAR #2:
    Introduction to Professional Development Portfolios

Year Three

  1. CADRE PLANNING--SUMMER #3
    Instructional Initiatives Portfolio
  2. LARGER STAFF PROGRAM--YEAR #3:
    Introduction to Instructional Initiatives Portfolios

Year Four

  1. CADRE'S FINAL EVALUATION--SUMMER #4

References



  Overview  

This document outlines a method for incorporating portfolios into teacher evaluation and professional growth practices. It begins with an experimental cadre of portfolio-minded teachers and one administrator. This front-line group studies options and then tries out each stage in advance of a larger staff group. The cadre develops methods, samples, and guidelines during the summer which are then field tested with the larger group the following year. The portfolios outlined in this document are authentic portfolios, which means that the content is designed by a teacher-manager team, and the authors (teachers) are given a great deal of latitude in interpreting how to respond to guidelines. In other words, this portfolio project is designed to encourage self-determination or self-directedness on the part of the portfolio author. Thus, while a general outline or table of contents will serve as a framework for constructing a portfolio, the teacher decides what is to be included, how to present the material, and later reflects on the experience and contents. In the end, the administrator/manager can use the portfolio as the premise around which to conduct an end-of-the-year evaluation.

Overall, two main outcomes are envisioned: enriched communications between staff and increasing depth in career and professional planning for the participants and the school system as a whole. A typical scenario illustrating this process might sound like the following:
  1. Teachers include samples of work as per a general outline in which they demonstrate personal growth, professional growth, and attention to various campus or district wide instructional initiatives. These special words become the keywords describing parts of the process and portfolio products.

  2. The authors select the contents as well as the best means of presentation. This can include cut and paste, computer documents, displays, etc. Their yearly portfolio is then orally presented to a panel of peers. The peers will ask questions, comment, and offer advice at times. Each panel member then writes up a brief personal evaluation describing the teacher who appeared before the panel. The evaluations and the portfolio are then forwarded to the administrator responsible for the teacher's evaluation.

  3. The administrator invites the teacher in to discuss the findings and perhaps lay plans or set goals for the future.

PROJECT GOALS

  • Produce teacher-centered portfolio (teacher is the main designer).
  • Explore alternative to standard assessment process.
  • Increase communication and collaboration.
  • Provide gap analysis to guide both individual career planning and staff development.

GENERAL METHOD

The first year begins with an emphasis on the contents of the Personal Teaching Portfolio. This is a most inviting step and the fun involved will help sustain the future momentum of the project. This portfolio is a miniature autobiography showing the teacher's personal and professional (educational) interests. This get-to-know-you portfolio may contain samples from hobbies such as a list of personal reading, photos of camping trips, slides from foreign travels, study samples from wood carving or handwriting analysis, poetry, family experiences, volunteer work. It will also include samples from personal studies related to teaching (such as novels and nonfiction), course work, conferences attended, district-wide committees, etc. Finally, this portfolio should answer the big question, "Why do I teach?".

In the second year a new "chapter" is added to the portfolio which emphasizes Professional Development. Standard criteria used in teacher evaluation can be used as a guideline to suggest what teachers need to demonstrate in the portfolio. For example, if Student Management or Behavior is a goal, then the educator might include any of following artifacts to demonstrate attention to this areas:
  1. A discipline referral which lead to a positive conclusion or a letter from a parent or student.
  2. A behavior modification chart to target a specific change.
  3. An in-class contract used with a student.
  4. E-mail from a colleague thanking the author for assisting with a student.
In the third year the focus expands to include various Instructional Initiatives begun at the school (or district or department); the portfolio expands to include work demonstrating teaching competence in areas such as:
  1. Critical thinking
  2. School-to-work
  3. Socratic seminars
  4. Technology
In essence these three areas (Personal Teaching, Professional Development, Instructional Initiatives) represent "chapters" in an expanding portfolio, taking shape over the course of 3 years. The criteria and guidelines for portfolio content (table of contents) and evaluation process or models will be developed first by the cadre using their own experiences. Then the larger staff's experience will be evaluated which leads to further refinement of the materials and process. In this fashion, the process and product is defined as the project unfolds. Due to the ambiguity of this situation the cadre and larger staff should probably be a self-selecting or volunteer group.


DETAILED PLANS

The cadre follows the general plan shown under CADRE PLANNING--SUMMER #1.   Each additional summer new tasks are added to the process and some of the original tasks fall away. At the end of each summer the cadre produces a program of portfolio development for a larger body of teachers. This unfolds as described under LARGER STAFF PROGRAM--YEAR #1.

Table of Contents

  Year One  

CADRE PLANNING--SUMMER #1:

Cadre Formation, Defining a Personal Teaching Portfolio

Tasks:

  1. Select a Cadre of portfolio-minded teachers representing different disciplines.
  2. Study and discuss portfolio models using books and articles.
  3. Write a tentative definition for teacher portfolios and their purpose.
  4. Design a framework or table of contents for a Personal Portfolio.
  5. Experiment with making a Personal Portfolio.
  6. Experiment with sharing and evaluating.
  7. Clarify outcomes and goals. Revise definition of portfolios and purpose.
  8. Develop an Action Plan for the project (Goals, Outcomes, Tasks and delegation on a possible timeline).

Topics For Cadre Reflection:

    Was this worth it?
    What do you think portfolios can lead to?

Possible Portfolio Model:

    Portfolio with:  
  • timeline
  • hobbies
  • personal studies
  • experiences in classroom

Topics For Individual Portfolio Reflection:   (ending chapter in a portfolio)

    Why did you get into teaching?
    What direction do you think your career will go next?

Outcomes:

  • Table of Contents and Tip Sheet to serve as a guideline for constructing Personal Teacher Portfolios
  • Library of Sample Teacher Personal Portfolios
  • Articles and books as references
  • Project Plan statement
  • A short manual summarizing the steps for this stage of portfolio making. This manual can be used by new teachers entering the program.

Table of Contents

LARGER STAFF PROGRAM--YEAR #1:

Introduction to Personal Teaching Portfolios
  The following agenda and outcomes remains basically the same for all three years.  
Variations are shown in YEAR #2 and YEAR #3.

Agenda:

  1. Weekend in-service
    • Background
    • Training in general portfolios
  2. Monthly meetings with Cadre
    1. Collect and share samples
    2. Organize samples
    3. Share and evaluate portfolios--mainly a sharing event
  3. Staff provides feedback on all materials and processes to date.

Outcomes:

  1. Teachers are more informed about what others are doing.
  2. Teachers are sharing more about technique which leads to greater collaboration.
  3. 3)Faculty members contribute samples from portfolios to the Portfolio Library.
  4. Teachers provide evaluation of the project -- using both qualitative measures (focus group) and quantitative instruments (a survey).

Possible Portfolio Model For Year #1:

    Portfolio might contain the following:  
  • timeline
  • hobbies
  • personal studies
  • experiences in classroom

Portfolio Reflection For Year #1:

    Why did you get into teaching?
    What direction do you think your career will go next?

Table of Contents

  Year Two  

CADRE PLANNING--SUMMER #2:

Define Framework for Professional Development Portfolio
(Develop a model for the Table of Contents and Sharing/Evaluation process)

Tasks:

  1. Discuss feedback from previous year. Determine what things to change.
  2. Spend time changing things based on discussion.
  3. Examine Professional Standards used in teacher evaluations. Derive an additional chapter for the portfolio focusing on these standards. Try to answer in various ways these two ancillary questions:
    • What does a teacher do?
    • What is your definition of a good teacher?
  4. Experiment with making a Professional Development Portfolio.
  5. Experiment with sharing and evaluating.
  6. Re-evaluate and revise as needed the project goals and terminology.

Topics For Cadre Reflection:

Sum up the strengths and weaknesses of the process and products to date.    
Project where next year's challenges will be.    
Visualize the ideal portfolio.

Possible Portfolio Model:

    Add to the portfolio:
      Revised introduction which lists the following areas:
  • Describe what you consider to be the ideal teacher (your personal philosophy)
  • Samples of experiments and achievements in your classroom
      Add a new chapter on Professional Development
  • Include samples related to the criteria (to be developed)

Topics For Individual Portfolio Reflection:

    What direction do you think your career will go next?
    State your goals for next year.

Outcomes:

  • Refined outcome and vision;
  • Additional guidelines and sample portfolios with an additional chapter or material;
  • A second chapter is added to the manual begun previously. This new chapter sums up the steps or process for this stage of portfolio making. The manual can be used by new teachers entering the program.

Table of Contents

LARGER STAFF PROGRAM--YEAR #2:

Introduction to Professional Development Portfolios

Agenda: (same as before)

  1. Weekend in-service
    • Background
    • Training in general portfolios
  2. Monthly meetings with Cadre
    1. Collect and share samples
    2. Organize samples
    3. Share and evaluate portfolios--mainly a sharing event
  3. Staff provides feedback on all materials and processes to date. This include focus groups and surveys.

Possible Portfolio Model For Year #2:

Add an introduction summing up your personal and professional experiences as demonstrated in the two portfolio chapters Personal and Professional Development.  
Add a chapter on Professional Development.  
Additional possible areas to discuss in the introduction or samples for the new chapter might also include:  
  • Personal Wellness
  • Risk Taking
  • Portfolio Reflection For Year #2:

        What direction do you think your career will go next?
        State your professional goals for next year.

    Outcomes:

    1. Teachers are more informed about what others are doing.
    2. Teachers are sharing more about technique which leads to greater collaboration.
    3. 3)Faculty members contribute samples from portfolios to the Portfolio Library.
    4. Teachers provide evaluation of the project -- using both qualitative measures (focus group) and quantitative instruments (a survey).

    Table of Contents

      Year Three  

    CADRE PLANNING--SUMMER #3:

    Instructional Initiatives Portfolio

    Tasks:

    1. Discuss feedback from previous year. Determine what things to change
    2. Spend time changing things based on discussion.
    3. Inventory various teaching and curriculum initiatives at the district level, school level, and by discipline. Some examples of district-wide initiatives might include: diversity, critical thinking, school-to-work, writing assessment and teaching, technology literacy, cooperative learning, special needs, essential learnings. Within each discipline are additional initiatives.
    4. Prioritize and select a few from each area. Use this to guide the framework for a new chapter.
    5. Design a framework or table of contents for a new Instructional Initiative Chapter.
    6. Experiment with making an Instructional Initiative Chapter.
    7. Experiment with sharing and evaluating.
    8. Re-evaluate and revise as needed the project goals and terminology.

    Topics For Cadre Reflection:

    In what way has the portfolio process helped or hindered your development and the school's development?  
    What have you learned about yourself?  
    What have you learned about teaching?  

    Possible Portfolio Model:

      Add to the portfolio:
        Revised introduction which lists the following areas:
    • Personal Wellness
    • Professional Development
    • Risk Taking
        How you have tried to incorporate instructional initiatives you have found helpful in teaching:
    • Describe school instructional initiatives you have found difficult to implement.
        Add a new chapter on Teaching Initiatives:
    • Include samples related to the criteria (to be developed).

    Topics For Individual Portfolio Reflection:

          Conduct a gap analysis:
    • What are your strengths and where are your gaps as a professional?    
    • What are your in-service needs?    
    • What are your wellness needs in terms of the workplace?    
    • What changes or contributions can you make toward improvement in yourself or in the school?

    Outcomes:

    • Refined outcome and vision
    • Additional guidelines and sample portfolios with an additional chapter or material.
    • Another chapter is added to the manual begun previously. This new chapter sums up the steps or process for this stage of portfolio making; the manual can be used by new teachers entering the program.

    Table of Contents

    LARGER STAFF PROGRAM--#3:
    Introduction to Instructional Initiatives Portfolios

    Agenda: (same as before)
    1. Weekend in-service
      • Background
      • Training in general portfolios
    2. Monthly meetings with Cadre
      1. Collect and share samples
      2. Organize samples
      3. Share and evaluate portfolios--mainly a sharing event
    3. Staff provides feedback on all materials and processes to date. This includes focus groups and surveys.

    Possible Portfolio Model For Year #3:

      Add to the introduction and samples from the following areas:
    • Describe instructional initiatives you have found helpful in teaching.
    • Describe school instructional initiatives you have found difficult to implement.
    • Add a chapter on Teaching Initiatives

    Portfolio Reflection For Year #3:

    Do a Gap Analysis about school initiatives. Then list what you would need individually in the form of training or support . This can be written from a personal as well as school-wide perspective.

    Outcomes:

    1. Teachers are more informed about what others are doing.
    2. Teachers are sharing more about technique which leads to greater collaboration.
    3. 3)Faculty members contribute samples from portfolios to the Portfolio Library.
    4. Teachers provide evaluation of the project -- using both qualitative measures (focus group) and quantitative instruments (a survey).

    Table of Contents

      Year Four  

    CADRE'S FINAL EVALUATION--SUMMER #4:

    Tasks:

    Examine the last input from teachers.
    Key Question To Address:  
      Should this program be continued?
    Supporting Questions:
    1. What have been the benefits and drawbacks?
    2. What must be changed it if is to continue?  
    3. Is there support for this change?

    Make Final recommendations

    Possible Future Tasks

    If the recommendation is to continue, then hire a writing team who will put together the final manual to guide new teachers entering the portfolio program.

    Table of Contents

      References  

    Portfolio Portraits.
    Donald H. Graves & Bonnie S. Sunstein eds. Heinemann. Portsmouth, NH. 1992. This is an excellent background book examining the practice and potential of using portfolios as a teaching and learning tool.

    Creating Portfolios For Success in School, Work, and Life.
    Martin Kimeldorf. Free Spirit Press Inc. Minneapolis, MN. 1994. The student workbook and teacher guide is written for young adults in school. (1-800-735-7323)

    Portfolio Power:   The New Way To Showcase All Your Job Skills and Experiences.
    Martin Kimeldorf, With a foreword by Joyce Kennedy. Peterson's Publishing Group, PO Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123. (1-800-225-0261). This work covers a variety of portfolio applications and topics including: making career decisions, applying for college and credits, securing financial backing, transitioning from military to civilian employment, demonstrating value at an interview, and securing promotions or positive employee evaluations.

    Portfolio Development Handbook, Prior Learning Experience Program.
    Peter Omar Manuelian. City University. Bellevue, WA 1991. (available in the college bookstore 1-800-426-5596).

    The Teaching Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions.
    Peter Seldin. Anker Publishing Company Inc. Boston, MA. 1991. Also, see his other book: Successful Use Of Teaching Portfolios. 1993.
     

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