Monday, November 3, 2003

Professional development Credit Opportunities On PeachStar

Even while increasing budget cuts make it difficult for schools and systems to fund professional development opportunities for educators, requirements for staff development unit credits remain the same.

One of the requests PeachStar most consistently receives is for cost-free educator professional development. In response to these requests, PeachStar has taken great measures to enhance our repository of professional development programming both by creating new programming in-house and by seeking out the highest quality programming on the market - and offering them free to Georgia educators in need of professional development to meet recertification requirements.

Annenberg/CPB courses represent one of the many sources of professional development programming PeachStar makes available to Georgia educators at no cost. These courses consist of at least eight sessions that include video and discussion/problem solving components as well as print materials (available directly through Annenberg) and websites. Annenberg courses offered through PeachStar cover a variety of education topics, including:

* Elementary Arts Education
* School Reform
* Literature Instruction
* Classroom Theory
* Geometry Instruction
* Algebra Instruction
* Civics
* Primary Sources
* Reading Instruction

We encourage schools to offer PeachStar programming for staff development unit (SDU) credit. Keep in mind that the same basic rules and regulations that apply to traditional modes of professional development also apply to video and web-based training.

Local school systems are ultimately responsible for deciding whether training activities are appropriate for earning SDU credit. In addition to whatever guidelines are set at the school and district level, basic state requirements must be met. The Georgia Department of Education requires that

* 10 clock hours of instruction must be attended to receive one staff development unit;
* Attendance must be documented for each workshop offering; and
* Mastery verification of on-the-job performance verification must be documented for each workshop offering.

Schools and systems that are considering the use of PeachStar programming for staff development purposes should understand that while PeachStar serves as the instructional delivery system for the programming, it is the responsibility of each school or school district to provide the following:

* An onsite facilitator to verify participant attendance at each session (required by state guidelines);
* Onsite personnel to document that participants have completed workshop activities successfully or that new learnings have been incorporated successfully into the job as verified by the on-the-job performance assessment (required by state guidelines); and
* An onsite facilitator to ensure that school or school district requirements for earning staff development units are met.

If you are interested in making PeachStar programming part of your staff development plan, contact your school or system staff development coordinator. There is an existing form called the Staff Development Unit Course Completion form, approved by the Georgia Department of Education that your system might want to use to document successful completion of SDU work through PeachStar.